Merlin revenues slump after Alton Towers coaster crash

The owner of Alton Towers today reported an 11.4% slump in revenues at its theme parks over the summer following the June rollercoaster tragedy.

Merlin Entertainments said numbers visiting Alton Towers were “significantly reduced” after the accident on June 2. Other UK parks were also affected.

“As anticipated, this has continued over the summer peak season, exacerbated by relatively poor weather in the UK in August, resulting in like-for-like revenues in the Resort Theme Parks operating group declining by 11.4% year on year,” the company said in a trading update for the 36 weeks to September 5.

Based upon summer trading and forward bookings, Resort Theme Parks’ earnings [EBITDA] is now expected to be in the lower part of the guided range of £40-£50 million in 2015, Merlin added.

“As previously communicated, this guidance assumes that trading in the UK theme parks improves to a degree in the balance of the year as the product mix shifts towards the Halloween offering.”

However, the group’s other divisions performed better, with Legoland Parks revenue growing by 6.7% and its Midway Attractions by 2.6%. This gave total like-for-like revenue growth for the period of 0.3%.

Chief executive, Nick Varney, said: “The trends we reported at the half year have continued throughout the summer.

“The performance of our Legoland Parks operating group has remained strong, with very positive guest satisfaction. 

“However, this has been offset by the impact of reduced visitation across the Resort Theme Parks operating group, primarily at Alton Towers Resort, and euro weakness impacting visitation at our London attractions.”

He added: “While near-term challenges remain, the group is making good overall progress on its growth strategy.

“We have significant new investments planned across the estate and are well placed to deliver these in 2016 and beyond.”

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