PROFIT UP FOR VILLAGE ROADSHOW DESPITE LOWER VISITOR NUMBERS

PROFIT UP FOR VILLAGE ROADSHOW DESPITE LOWER VISITOR NUMBERS

ENTERTAINMENT company Village Roadshow Limited (ASX:VRL) has reported net profit after tax (NPAT) of $28.3 million for the six months to December 31, 2011.

The result represents a 52 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from operations up 9 per cent to $79.4 million.

Combined EBITDA from Sea World, Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Paradise Country and the Australian Outback Spectacular slightly decreased to $37.1m.

Theme parks on the Coast generated an NPAT of $11.7m, representing 41.3 per cent of overall NPAT in the six-month period. However, this was almost 20 per cent less than the previous corresponding period ($14.6m).

Attendance numbers at Sea World, Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Paradise Country and the Australian Outback Spectacular decreased by 100,000 to 2.3 million in the six month period compared to 2010.

However, chairman Robert Kirby is optimistic by the overall results that will aid the group’s overseas expansion plan.

"We have reduced debt and substantially reduced corporate costs. The group is now in a strong position to build on the opportunities in the market,” he says.

“Sydney Wet 'n' Wild and our opportunities in China will capitalise on our skills to design and develop world-class theme parks – and our cinema exhibition and film distribution businesses will continue to deliver world class entertainment at a price, which is attainable by all."

This year the group hopes to increase patronage by launching new rides including the Green Lantern Coaster at Movie World, Nickelodeon Parade at Sea World, Spirit Of The Horse at Australian Outback Spectacular and Nickelodeon Spray Ground at Sea World Resort & Water Park.

In a statement to the ASX, CEO Graham Burke praised multi-day, multi-park ticket sales for driving up yields 6 per cent, despite rain hindering attendance by 5 per cent and the high dollar discouraging visitors to the Gold Coast.

"The group trading performance has been stable for the first six months despite the global economy and Australian dollar, which are impacting the spending patterns of our customers,” he says.

“Although these impacts plus the unfavourable weather on the Gold Coast have affected attendances at the parks, the overall performance of the group has been maintained.”

Debts carried by the same theme parks were down 3.8 per cent to $263.6m. They represent nearly 24 per cent of overall group debt for the period.

Village Roadshow shares rose slightly to $2.96 per unit.

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