BIG BOOST IN VISITORS FOR COAST THEME PARKS

BIG BOOST IN VISITORS FOR COAST THEME PARKS

MORE than half a million more visitors poured into Village Roadshow’s Gold Coast theme parks in the December half than they did a year earlier.

The visitor figures, up 26.8 per cent or 548,000 people from a year earlier, has helped Village Roadshow’s (VRL) theme park division post a 9.4 per cent lift in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to $40.6 million.

Pre-tax profit came in at $14.8 million, up from $11.7 million a year ago, built on a 9.4 per cent lift in revenue.

Village Roadshow says the continued promotion of annual passes, along with good weather, has helped drive the latest results for the six months to the end of December.

Village Roadshow owns Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild on the Gold Coast, as well as theme parks in the US and a global film and cinema business.

The Gold Coast theme parks account for the majority of its theme park business, although Village is currently building a Wet ‘n’ Wild park in Sydney due to open in December.

Village says occupancy at the Sea World Resort was up 9.3 per cent and revenue increased 7.3 per cent during the period compared to a year earlier.

Attendance at Wet ‘n’ Wild was up 24.1 per cent.

But, as Dreamworld has just reported, Village Roadshow says cyclonic weather conditions during late January hurt revenues for the month.

Yet, it still expects to report EBITDA slightly higher than January 2012.

Across the Village Roadshow group, revenue rose 2 per cent to $480 million, while the bottom-line profit surged 18 per cent to $33.4 million.

“The world is in the mood to go out, to indulge themselves in a little pleasure and escape from worries,” says Village Roadshow CEO Graham Burke.

“The theme parks have once again demonstrated they have a winning formula and the appetite for filmed entertainment appears unquenchable.”

Village Roadwhow is paying an interim dividend of 13c per share with a record date of March 6.

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