Merlin Entertainments has announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2011. Europe’s biggest and the world’s second largest operator of visitor attractions put in another strong performance despite difficult economic conditions.
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- 15.4% growth in visitor numbers to 47.3 million.
- 18.1% increase in revenue and 16.9% increase in operating profit from increased visitor numbers, international expansion, roll out of Midway attractions and investment in existing assets.
- Capital investment of £174 million of which £76 million was spent on existing estate and the remainder on acquisitions (Midway and LEGOLAND Florida) funded from operating cash flow.
- Net debt of £1,209 million with maturity extended to 2017 and finance in place for the acquisition of Living and Leisure Australia.
Merlin Entertainments now operates 88 attractions in 19 countries across four continents. Significant events in 2011 include:
- The opening of LEGOLAND Florida, Merlin’s biggest ever new attractions.
- Opening seven new Midway attractions across five brands, including two at the Blackpool Power Complex.
- Resort theme parks enhanced with new thrill rides: Krake in Heide Park in Germany and Raptor at Gardaland in Italy.
- A successful first year of operations in Australia after the acquisition of the Sydney Attractions Group and a further move into Asia Pacific planned with the acquisition of Living & Leisure.
Looking forward in 2012
So far in 2012 Merlin say that current trading is “in line with expectations” and plan to end the year with 94 attractions across four continents. Key milestones are:
- The opening of the LEGOLAND Windsor Hotel.
- The opening of LEGOLAND Malaysia.
- Six new Midway attractions scheduled to open in four countries.
- New rides at existing attractions: The Swarm at Thorpe Park, Nemesis Sub-Terra at Alton Towers and Polar Land at LEGOLAND Billund.
Comment from Nick Varney
Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, said:
“Last year was the most exciting in the history of Merlin Entertainments as we delivered a further step-change in the performance of the business, while significantly extending our international profile…
Against this backdrop we approach the start of our key trading period in confident mood. While the outlook for the consumer economy remains uncertain we believe our strong brands and our relentless focus on customer satisfaction mean we will continue to provide thrilling days out for our millions of customers. We will continue to invest for growth under our proven strategy of growing our strong brands in a portfolio of attractions balanced by geography, product and demographics and we are therefore confident that Merlin will again make good progress.”