Merlin posts 2015 results after 'challenging' year
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Merlin posts 2015 results after 'challenging' year

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Merlin Entertainments has released its end of year results, showing generally robust earnings as pre-tax profits edged up 0.3 per cent, despite the immediate and ongoing fallout from the Smiler accident at Alton Towers on 2 June.

News also broke today (25 February) that Alton Tower’s owner Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd is to be prosecuted over the accident, in which two people lost a leg and others were injured. The company is scheduled to appear in court on 22 April facing a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Merlin generated £1.28bn (US$1.79bn, €1.6bn) in revenue, up 2.3 per cent on the previous year’s figure of £1.25bn and resulting in pre-tax profits of £250m (US$350m, €317m), a 0.3 per cent rise.

Merlin’s Legoland arm supported gains, recording 8.2 per cent growth to £429m (US$600m, €543m). However, those were largely offset by the resorts and theme parks group, where revenues were hit by the drop in visitors to Alton Towers and decreased 12.4 per cent from £331m (US$463m, €419m) in 2014 to £285m (US$399, €361m) in 2015.

Midway attractions recorded like for like growth of 2.3 per cent, buoyed by a strong performance in Asia and Europe and the opening of seven new sites in this category.

“Despite a challenging year, the business delivered a robust performance in 2015. We continued to see a strong trading performance in Legoland parks and a positive contribution from new business development,” said Merlin CEO Nick Varney.

Varney said that the company continued to look to the future as it announced its targets for 2020, which include opening up 2,000 new rooms, 40 new midways and four new Legoland parks.

“We remain confident in the strength of the underlying business and the natural diversification that the growing portfolio creates,” Varney said.

Finally, Varney also announced that Merlin Entertainments is investing US$34m (£42m, €31m) in Big Bus city tours in a partnership that would bring bus passengers to Merlin’s city midways.

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Merlin Entertainments has released its end of year results, showing generally robust earnings as pre-tax profits edged up 0.3 per cent, despite the immediate and ongoing fallout from the Smiler accident at Alton Towers on 2 June.
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