SEAWORLD MAKES A SPLASH WITH VILLAGE PROFITS

SEAWORLD MAKES A SPLASH WITH VILLAGE PROFITS

INCREASED growth at Sea World Resort has helped boost Village Roadshow Limited’s (VRL) after-tax profits by 210 per cent equating to $94.9 million.

Net profit is up from $12.6m on the previous year as the Gold Coast theme parks continue to drive the $1.28 billion company. The film production, media and leisure behemoth’s Gold Coast Theme Parks division alone contributed more than 46 per cent ($44.3M) to the overall net profit figure.

The company’s Gold Coast properties include Warner Bros. Movie World, Seaworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Australian Outback Spectacular, but its annual report to shareholders cited Sea World Resort and Water Park as the most improved performer.

The Sea World resort contributed 6.1 per cent EBITDA to the consolidation of the water park inside the resort, allowing free access to hotel patrons and the refurbishment of 120 rooms.

Stage two of the resorts’ refurbishment program is scheduled to be completed early in 2011 and coincides with the opening of new attractions at the Sea World theme park and Wet ‘n’ Wild.

Warner Bros. Movie World also performed strongly on the back of heavy investment and marketing into the theme park’s special events attractions, while the USA Wet ‘n’ Wild water parks located at Phoenix, Arizona and Oahu, Hawaii continue to record slight profits in the challenging economic conditions.

In announcing the results to the ASX, VRL chairman Robert Kirby said the trading results demonstrate the underlying strength of the company’s core operations.

"Business trading (at the Gold Coast theme parks) is at an all-time record, which highlights the value of continuous investment into these world-class assets," he says.

“We continue to focus on delivering what consumers want and not only meet their entertainment expectations, but exceed them. The focus is delivering strong results for the group and demonstrating our commitment to be the best in our industry.”

The statement also highlights the successful $109.9 million share buyback in the first half while announcing an on-market buy-back and variation of rights proposal.

“The proposed buy back and right variation proposal is in response to requests from shareholders to simplify our capital structure,” says Kirby.

"The board of VRL believes the transaction provides an appropriate choice for those shareholders who wish to continue with us and those prefer to realise their holding for cash.”

VRL recorded a 2 per cent increase in annual revenue to $1.282 billion.

Shares are today trading at $2.30.

Gold Coast snapshot

- Record park attendance of 4.5 million up 10 per cent on prior year

- Annual pass and season pass sales of 440,000, up 88 per cent

- Increase in international visitation in the last quarter

- New attractions in the FY2011 year include ‘Aqua Loop’, ‘Castaway Bay’and ‘Penguin Encounter’

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