Village Roadshow divests promo business as theme park profits surge

Village Roadshow divests promo business as theme park profits surge

Entertainment group Village Roadshow (ASX: VRL) has sold promotional solutions agency Edge Loyalty Systems to California-headquartered Blackhawk Network for $32.3 million. 

Founded in 2006 and acquired by Village Roadshow in 2012, Edge Loyalty Systems promotes brands for major Australian and international businesses including Coca-Cola Amatil, Fujitsu, Mars, NAB, Foxtel, ANZ and Mercedes Benz.

Edge employs more than 80 people in Australia and Asia, and its own brands include Gift Card Planet, GoodFood Gift Card, Gourmet Restaurant and Lifestyle Rewards.

Subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), the sale is expected for completion by November 2019.

Village Roadshow today also released its preliminary final report for FY19, detailing a net loss after tax of approximately $6.6 million.

Edge was part of Village Roadshow's marketing solutions division which delivered an EBITDA of $5.3 million, down from $8.3 million in FY18 as it was impacted by lower promotional activity.

The group recorded EBITDA of $124.9 million overall, up 37 per cent on the prior year.

Village Roadshow's theme parks division comprised of Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild and others, saw its EBITDA rise by 100 per cent which the company attributes to a successful ticketing strategy and good weather.

In the group's cinema division, Village Roadshow says a strong performance from 'Avengers: Endgame' during the first half did not translate to strong ticket sales for the rest of the year.

The group says it is "refashioning for the 2020s" to ensure that the brand is the "destination of choice". Key FY20 titles for Village include The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen II, and Wonder Woman 1984.

Outgoing CEO Graham Burke (pictured) says the next decade will be important for the company.

"VRL is well positioned in the 'experience economy' where people are increasingly buying experiences rather than things," says Burke.

"FY2020 is off to a good start, with record July attendances at our theme parks and the outstanding performance of The Lion King in cinema, but offset by some softness in Film Distribution."

Shares in VRL are up 3.72 per cent to $2.51 per share at 10.35am AEST.

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