Merlin Entertainments (LON:MERL) has updated investors on its interim performance this morning.
Highlights from the company statement:
• Group revenue grew by 19.4% (9.6% on a constant currency basis), reflecting a strong contribution from new accommodation and attractions, and continued like for like revenue growth;
• LEGOLAND Parks revenue increased by 34.6% at actual FX rates. On a constant currency basis, revenue grew by 20.8% due to the opening of LEGOLAND Japan, a strong Easter trading period driving 8.0% like for like growth and the positive contribution from new accommodation including the new 'Beach Retreat' in LEGOLAND Florida;
• Midway Attractions delivered 11.3% revenue growth or 2.3% on a constant currency basis. The opening of new Midway attractions offset a decline in like for like revenue of 0.4%, which reflected a more subdued London market as well as the expected phasing of growth;
• Resort Theme Parks revenue grew by 12.7%. Revenue growth of 7.7% at constant currency was driven by a 6.2% growth in like for like revenue, due to a strong Easter and a soft comparative period;
• Profit before tax was stable in part due to a number of adverse timing effects which will normalise in the second half of 2017;
• Good progress towards the 2020 strategic milestones:
– Five new Midway attractions opened in the period, including our new brand 'Little BIG City' in Berlin;
– 381 new accommodation rooms opened to date across four of our theme parks (including 305 during the period);
– LEGOLAND Japan opened on 1 April 2017, ahead of schedule and on budget.
As we approach the peak trading period, we are making good progress across most of our businesses, although we remain cautious on the near term outlook for our UK attractions, reflecting the recent terror attacks.
Despite this trading uncertainty, due to the increasing diversification of the portfolio, the ongoing roll out of new attractions and accommodation, and our continued focus on productivity and efficiencies, we anticipate delivering full year profits in line with current expectations.
An update on our peak season performance will be provided in the Summer trading statement on 5 October.