Merlin Entertainments earnings up 6.2 percent on strong theme parks

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Merlin Entertainments, the tourist attraction company, beat forecasts with a 6.2 percent rise in 2018 core earnings, driven by a strong performance at its theme parks business, and said its outlook for 2019 was “positive”.

The operator of Madame Tussauds waxworks, the London Eye and Alton Towers made underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 494 million pounds for the year to Dec. 29.

That topped the 488 million pounds expected by analysts and was up from 474 million a year earlier.

The world’s second-biggest visitor attractions group behind Walt Disney said it welcomed a record 67 million visitors, up 1.4 percent, while revenue rose 5.9 percent to 1.69 billion pounds.

Its other sites include Legoland, Sea Life and the London Dungeons.

Revenue at its Resort Theme Parks division grew 9.1 percent and was up 6.4 percent at Legoland. The Midway Attractions division saw growth of 1.1 percent with a continued recovery in London trading.

Merlin said trading in 2019 had been in line with expectations. “Our 2019 outlook is positive and unchanged,” it said.

About 70 percent of Merlin’s core annual earnings are generated in the second half of the year and it makes two thirds of its annual profit outside of Britain.

Source – Reuters