Merlin Entertainments has announced another year of double digit growth following last year’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange.
Progress has been made across all strategic growth drivers:
- Existing estate growth via investment cycles £95 million investment in new rides and attractions, eg The Smiler at Alton Towers, Zufari: Ride into Africa! at Chessington World of Adventures and Land of Chima at LEGOLAND Florida. In 2014 a new winged roller coaster will debut at Heide Park, CBeebies Land at Alton Towers, a Chima themed water park at LEGOLAND California and Penguin Ice Adventure at SEA LIFE Birmingham.
- Leveraging of strategic synergies New strategic partnership with Kellogg’s, relaunch of UK Merlin Annual Pass and next‐generation ticketing trials at Thorpe Park.
- Transforming theme parks to short break destinations New hotels at LEGOLAND California and Knight’s Castle hotel at LEGOLAND Deutschland with resort accommodation to open at Chessington World of Adventures, LEGOLAND Billund and LEGOLAND Deutschland in 2014
- Roll-out new midway attractions Six new midway attractions opened across North America, Asia and Europe and the successful relocation of the London Dungeon to the South Bank cluster with London Eye and SEA LIFE London Aquarium. For 2014 there are plans for a SEA LIFE Centre in Charlotte; a new cluster in San Francisco with a Madame Tussauds and the first Dungeon outside of Europe; Madame Tussauds in Beijing and Singapore; and a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (‘LDC’) in Boston. Just announced, a new midway brand, Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure, to be created with DreamWorks Animation. An initial roll out six attractions over nine years in international city locations, with the first opening in the South Bank cluster in London in summer 2015.
- LEGOLAND Park developments 2013 saw a strong first full year of trading at LEGOLAND Malaysia. LEGOLAND Dubai expected to open in 2016 under a management contract. Potential park developments under negotiation in Japan and South Korea, and preliminary discussions ongoing in China and the USA
- Strategic acquisitions Following the acquistions of Living and Leisure Australia in 2012, several of the attractions have been relaunched. The Turkuazoo aquarium in Istanbul is set for relaunch in 2015 to form the base for a future midway cluster.
Commenting on the results, Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer, said, “Merlin Entertainments made further substantial progress in 2013. We delivered our fourteenth year of strong growth, with continued delivery from our existing estate, underpinned by the ongoing roll out of our unique portfolio of leisure brands internationally. With seven new attractions in 2013 we are making good progress towards our stated long term aim of a geographically diversified business generating revenues equally across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. At the same time, we delivered on our long-standing objective of becoming a publicly quoted company. The flotation of Merlin has given us the platform for the next stage of our development and we are now better placed than ever before to continue to build this robust, diversified business, based on our iconic attractions and our determination to deliver memorable days out for our many millions of visitors in 22 countries, across four continents.
“The recent announcement of our agreement with DreamWorks to launch a new midway brand, Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure, is a hugely exciting development and the start of what we hope will become a wider strategic partnership. Shrek is the most successful animated franchise of all time and we are delighted that we are going to add it to our portfolio of iconic international entertainment brands.
“Looking forwards, we are confident that our portfolio of attractions is well placed to take advantage of the world of opportunity ahead of us, with our pipeline of new business developments remaining as full as ever. We have multiple levers to drive growth and the right team in place to ensure continued delivery. Stand by for more Merlin magic ahead!”
Images: Merlin Entertainments