LONDON, Sept 29 Merlin Entertainments,
the British theme park operator fined this week for a
rollercoaster crash, lowered its full-year core earnings margin
forecast on Thursday due to weaker trading at its London
attractions like the Madame Tussauds waxworks.
Merlin said its London sites, which include the London
Dungeon, had not seen a boost from the weaker pound sparked by
Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
Merlin said year-to-date revenue at its indoor sites in city
centres and resorts, fell 0.4 percent on a like-for-like basis,
offsetting stronger trading at its theme parks, resulting in 1.3
percent like-for-like growth for the group.
Chief Executive Nick Varney said trading across its estate
was mixed in the year to Sept. 17, including the key summer
trading months of July and August.
"Our Resort Theme Parks Operating Group is now showing year
on year revenue growth, reflecting the ongoing recovery in
trading at Alton Towers," he said on Thursday.
"(But) London in particular continues to suppress overall
trading performance as we are yet to see any significant benefit
from the depreciation of sterling."
Merlin, the world's second-biggest visitor attractions group
behind Walt Disney, said the tough trading conditions would
results in a core earnings margin for the year in the "mid
thirties", a downgrade from its previous expectation of about 40
Trade at its Alton Towers park was hit by a rollercoaster
crash in June 2015 that seriously injured five people.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)