Brexit bonus for Merlin as weakened pound boosts profits
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Brexit bonus for Merlin as weakened pound boosts profits

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Merlin Entertainments is forecasting a boost in profits as a result of the fall in value of the pound stemming from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

Merlin – one of the largest attractions operators in the world, second only to Disney – has forecast a percentage boost for the UK-based company, with 70 per cent of what it earns coming from outside Britain.

This coupled with Merlin CEO Nick Varney predicting last month that the weakened pound could attract an influx of visitors means the company is benefitting despite a volatile financial market.

According to Merlin’s chief financial officer Andrew Carr, the company’s 2016 results should be strong if the pound's weakness against the dollar and euro persists. Carr added that the forecast would result in a “mid to high single-digit percentage” increase if current financial rates are maintained.

Reporting its half-year results, Merlin, which operates more than 100 attractions worldwide, recorded profits of £50m (US$65.8m, €59.2m). The operator added that overall revenue year-on-year had grown 5.3 per cent to £573m (US$754m, €679m), with a 3 percentage point benefit from currency movements.

Visitor numbers for the period grew 1.1 per cent to 28 million, but like-for-like revenue was down 1.1 per cent, which Merlin attributed to a “challenging landscape” for its midway attractions and significantly lower visitor number at Alton Towers stemming from the Smiler accident in June last year.

Merlin said it expects further recovery for its Resort Theme Park portfolio, which was down 9.1 per cent, with additional growth coming from its Legoland parks, the latest of which is due to open this year in Dubai. Merlin’s midway trading performance is expected to remain “subdued” with the London market, which the operator said would be “challenging in the near term”.

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Merlin Entertainments is forecasting a boost in profits as a result of the fall in value of the pound stemming from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).
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