Merlin revenue increases despite 'incredibly difficult' trading conditions
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Merlin revenue increases despite 'incredibly difficult' trading conditions

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Merlin Entertainments enjoyed an 11 per cent revenue increase over the past year despite last year’s Smiler crash and the “incredibly difficult” trading conditions of its midway attractions following a string of terrorist attacks in Europe.

Merlin has benefitted from a sharp decline in the pound – a result of Brexit – with growth at actual exchange rates 10.6 per cent higher compared to 2015. Looking at a constant currency basis, the figures were slightly less impressive, with a 3.7 per cent rise on the previous year’s figures.

The company – which earlier this week was fined £5m (US$6.5m, €5.7m) for breaching health and safety regulations in relation to the Smiler incident – said that although visitor numbers at Alton Towers were still “some way off” its 2014 figures, trading at the theme park and resort was improving with hopes of a full recovery by 2018. In addition to the £5m fine handed out, Merlin’s earnings took an estimated £40m (US$52m, €46.3m) hit as a result of the crash last year.

Merlin’s midway attractions, which include the likes of Madame Tussauds, Dungeons and the London Eye – saw a 0.4 per cent decrease in revenues, which Merlin chief executive Nick Varney attributed to recent terrorist attacks, adding that bookings “fell across Europe”.

Merlin added that the threat of terrorism and the zika virus affecting tourism in Florida in 2016, hitting visitor numbers at its Legoland attraction in the state.

"We remain pleased with progress in Legoland Parks and Resort Theme Parks and expect continued growth in these two operating groups, reflecting strong product momentum and the ongoing recovery at Alton Towers," said a company statement.

"We remain positive on the medium term outlook, reflecting the strength of the brands, diversity of the portfolio and confidence in the strategy.”

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Merlin Entertainments enjoyed an 11 per cent revenue increase over the past year despite last year’s Smiler crash and the “incredibly difficult” trading conditions of its midway attractions following a string of terrorist attacks in Europe.
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