Merlin Entertainments

Ticker MERL

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As of 11:09 23 Jul 2018
Market cap. Pound sterling
4,123.04 million
As of 11:09 23 Jul 2018

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Merlin: London attacks still affecting numbers

Alton Towers
Getty Images

Merlin says visits to its London attractions are still being affected by the terror attacks last year.

The entertainment giant also wasn’t immune to the effects of the Beast from the East blast of cold weather it said.

But its downbeat trading update this morning hasn't shaken shares. Merlin's up a fraction, by 0.2%m as the market opens.

Merlin, which runs the London Eye Ferris wheel, Legoland, Alton Towers, Sea Life, the London Dungeons and Shrek's Adventure, is the world's second-biggest visitor attractions group behind Walt Disney. But it makes most of its profit outside the UK.

Merlin hit by terror attacks and poor weather

Tourists pose in front of London Eye

London Eye owner Merlin Entertainments said the company's sites attracted 66 million visitors in 2017, up 3.5%.

Pre-tax profits climbed 4.8% to £271m, although revenues were hit by adverse weather conditions.

It opened Legoland Japan last April and plans to open Legoland New York in 2020.

Boss Nick Varney said: "The year was ultimately defined by the unprecedented spate of terror attacks in the UK and poor to extreme weather throughout the summer season in Europe."

Trapped tower visitors and staff member compensated after ordeal

Fourteen people who were trapped for seven hours in a 53m-high (174ft) tower in Weymouth have each received compensation, the operator has said.

Weymouth fire crew during the rescue
Weymouth Fire Station

Thirteen visitors, including an 11-week-old baby, and a member of staff were rescued from Weymouth's Jurassic Skyline tower on 5 September.

Merlin Entertainments said "all parties involved" had since accepted compensation from the firm, but it refused to give further details.

The firm said a specialist rope recovery team had been appointed "to provide further support to our local team", a defective speed governor unit had since been replaced on the attraction and the tower had undergone "rigorous testing" by internal engineers and an independent inspection body.

Weymouth's Jurassic Skyline gets rope recovery team after tower trap

A 53m-high (174ft) viewing tower that broke down trapping 14 people for seven hours now has a specialist rope recovery team, its operator has said.

Weymouth tower rescue
Weymouth Fire Station

Thirteen visitors, including an 11-week-old baby, and a member of staff were rescued from Weymouth's Jurassic Skyline tower on 5 September.

Operator Merlin Entertainments said there was a mechanical fault within the unit that controls the speed on the tower, which is currently closed for winter.

However, a recovery process to lower the ride to ground level did not work.

Instead, the emergency brake remained engaged on the tower, which is currently closed for the winter, requiring the assistance of the emergency services, Poole-based Merlin Entertainments said.

Since the incident we have worked with the ride manufacturers and an independent inspection body to identify why we weren't able lower the ride using these processes and have implemented appropriate measures to further assist recovery in the case of a mid-flight stoppage.

Merlin EntertainmentsJurassic Skyline operator

Plans for £20m Bear Grylls attraction unveiled

The firm behind Alton Towers and Warwick Castle, Merlin Entertainments, has revealed more information about its planned adventure attraction, due to open in Birmingham.

Bear Grylls Adventure
Merlin Entertainments

The £20m Bear Grylls Adventure is set to open its doors at the NEC next year, the company announced, with visitors being able to choose challenges such as diving and rock climbing.

Tickets will start at about £25 with construction of the 8,000 sq m (86,000 sq ft) attraction well-under way.

The company's share price plunged last month after the company said recent terrorist attacks had continued to affect visitor numbers.

Merlin shares crash 20%

BBC Business Live

Investors aren't impressed by the prospect of a Bear Grylls attraction for Birmingham and a Peppa Pig deal.

Merlin shares

Shares in Merlin Entertainments have dropped over 20% after this morning's trading update which showed flat like-for-like sales.

The company's blaming terrorist incidents and the weather.

Bear Grylls attraction coming to Birmingham

A new adventure-based attraction launched with survival expert Bear Grylls is opening in Birmingham next year.

Merlin Entertainments has announced the launch, but as yet has not revealed the details.

Bear Grylls

The firm, which also looks after Warwick Castle, has announced a range of new features including the opportunity for visitors to stay in themed accommodation and try new attractions based on popular kids TV brand Peppa Pig.

Details of the agreement come as Merlin's latest trading figures confirmed the hit from terrorist attacks on UK attractions in the peak summer months.