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Merlin Entertainments like-for-like revenue grows, expects to meet 2018 outlook

Favourable weather and product investment contributes to 9% rise in organic revenue growth at Resort Theme Parks

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Merlin is seeing increased demand by customers for themed accomodations

Merlin Entertainments PLC (LON:MERL) on Tuesday reported growth in group revenue on a year-to-date basis, and the theme park operator said it is on course to meet its 2018 outlook. 

The FTSE 250-listed company said group organic revenue increased 4.7%, driven by the opening of six new Midway attractions and the opening of a record 644 rooms. Like-for-like revenue rose 1.4%.

READ: UBS turns cautious on Merlin amid review score decline and Midway uncertainty

Demand by customers for themed-accommodation and short breaks was behind a 27.7% increase in accommodation revenue, said Merlin.

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer, said: "Group trading has been in line with expectations, with variances by Operating Group reflecting the diversified nature of the portfolio.”

As part of its trading update, Merlin said favourable weather and product investment supported a 9% rise in organic revenue growth at Resort Theme Parks.

While overall trading has met its expectations, Merlin noted that a number of key trading weeks are coming up, including the Halloween and Christmas periods.

Merlin, whose properties include the Alton Towers theme park, added that the impact of terror attacks, which hurt its business from early 2017, “has started to abate” and that it has seen early signs of recovery in the London tourism market over the summer.

“The cost environment remains challenging, with tighter labour markets in many parts of the world adding to the pressures resulting from legislative changes such as the National Living Wage in the UK,” said Merlin. “Our Productivity Agenda remains a key area of focus, and it is testament to our teams that, despite these cost pressures, we have continued to deliver excellent levels of guest satisfaction overall."

Merlin said it’s “pleased” with early feedback from guests about its two new Midway brands - The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham and Peppa Pig World of Play in Shanghai - but it is too early to comment on their commercial success.

“Reflecting the trends experienced to date, Merlin anticipates reporting 2018 results in line with market expectations,” it said.

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AIM:MERL
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