Merlin works its magic with earnings hike

The company behind the Edinburgh Dungeon saw profits rise 11 per cent. Picture: Toby Williams

The company behind the Edinburgh Dungeon saw profits rise 11 per cent. Picture: Toby Williams

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Edinburgh Dungeon owner Merlin Entertainments has predicted another year of growth after unveiling an 11 per cent hike in annual profits.

The group, which is also behind the Legoland theme parks that benefited from the toy brand’s successful movie spin-off, posted an underlying pre-tax profit of £179 million for the 12 months to 27 December, up from £162m for the previous year.

Visitor numbers rose 4.9 per cent to 62.8 million, helping revenues increase 9.6 per cent on a constant currency basis to £1.25 billion.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: “The stand out performance came from the Legoland parks operating group, with like-for-like revenue growth at over 13 per cent. 2015 is expected to be another year of growth for Merlin, with positive underlying trading and a strong new business development pipeline.”

However, Varney said that like-for-like growth across the group, which floated in November 2013, would be “tempered” by tough comparisons against its strong performance in the first half of 2014.

Shore Capital analyst Martin Brown said that yesterday’s results came in comfortably ahead of the broker’s forecasts and, with three further Lego movies in the pipeline, “everything is awesome at Merlin at the moment”.

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