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DXB Entertainments struggles to grow attendance and visitor spending

DXB Entertainments theme park Bollywood Parks Dubai at Dubai Parks and Resorts.

DXB Entertainments announced its preliminary results, with the Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park owner struggling to grow attendance and visitor spending to meet expectations.

DXB Entertainments (DXBE) announced preliminary results showing a net loss of one billion dirhams ($272m) for 2018. This was an improvement on the net loss of 1.12 billion dirhams ($305m) reported in 2017, due to increased visitor numbers and lower operating costs. However, some analysts were disappointed in the theme park company’s performance.

For the whole of 2018, visits were close to 2.8 million, increasing by almost 22 percent year-on-year. However poorer than expected Q4 attendance led to a reduction in revenue to 149 million dirhams ($41m), down 5 percent on Q4 2017.

The Dubai-based operator of leisure and entertainment destinations and experiences, recorded a fourth quarter 2018 net loss of 268 million dirhams ($73m) – a 5.1 percent year-on-year increase on the net loss of 255 million dirhams ($69m) for Q4 2017.

DXBE saved 21 percent on overall operating expenses, from 925 million dirhams ($252m) in 2017 to 2018’s 728 million dirhams ($198m).

Ayub Ansari, a senior analyst at Bahrain-based bank SICO, told Zawya: “[The] company continues to struggle with achieving meaningful growth in park arrivals, as well as visitor spending.”

Ansari added that the theme park spend per visit of 123 dirhams ($33) was “weak and disappointing”.

Six Flags Dubai

DXB Entertainments owns Dubai Parks and Resorts, which includes the Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood theme parks. Meraas Holding is a majority shareholder in the company with a 52.3 per cent stake.

Earlier this month, DXBE confirmed that the Six Flags Dubai theme park project had been put on hold as financing was no longer available.

According to Reuters, the move demonstrates that the tourism hotspot is being impacted by an economic slowdown triggered by lower oil prices.

DXB Entertainments said in a statement: “In the intervening period, actions, including formal notification by Six Flags, resulted in funders’ concerns being raised specifically in relation to the revised projections for the Six Flags Dubai Project.”

In its results statement to the Dubai Financial Market on Monday, the company said that losses incurred in the provisional results “do not reflect any potential financial impact with regard to the Six Flags Dubai project, now any material post balance sheet updates, if any”.

Six Flags released initial plans in 2016 for a new theme park at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Set to be the first all-out thrill park in the GCC, Six Flags Dubai promised record-breaking coasters, spectacular shows and a host of interactive attractions.

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Bea Mitchell

A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature.

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