Legoland operator Merlin reports jump in revenue growth

Merlin, which also operates Madam Tussauds and the London Eye, sees hike in profits

Madam Tussauds and Legoland operator Merlin Entertainments said it traded well over its key summer period and forecast a year of growth.

The world's second biggest operator of visitor attractions behind Walt Disney, which makes about a third of its turnover in July and August alone, said on Thursday its summer performance took like-for-like revenue growth for the 36 weeks to September6 th to 6.7 per cent.

The rise compared with the 8.1 per cent underlying growth reported for the first half of the year, although the firm had flagged a second-half slowdown due to tough comparatives with the same period last year.

Merlin said profit growth in the period was consistent with management’s expectations and was expected to result in full-year underlying profit margins similar to last year’s levels.


Prior to the update analysts were on average forecasting full-year core earnings of £400 million.

"The prospects for 2015 and beyond are attractive," said chief executive Nick Varney.

Total group revenue in the 36-week period, including the impact of new attractions opened within the last year, rose 9.3 per cent on a constant-currency basis.

At actual exchange rates, total growth was 3.8 per cent due to the strength of sterling against Merlin’s main trading currencies.

Merlin, which listed on the London stock market in November, currently makes over 60 per cent of sales in Britain and continental Europe but is aiming to generate a third from Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific with a raft of new sites.

In July the firm said it was in advanced talks to open more Legoland Parks in China and the United States. Merlin is already due to open parks in Dubai and Japan in 2016 and 2017 respectively, taking it to seven globally, and has said it sees scope for 20 in total.

Shares in the group, whose attractions also include Sea Life, Alton Towers and the London Eye, closed at 340.5 pence on Wednesday.