Merlin Entertainments reports 11.4 per cent drop in revenue

<p>The company says a roller coaster accident in June has reduced visitor numbers.</p>

Merlin Entertainments has reported an 11.4 per cent drop in revenue compared with last year at its Resort Theme Parks.

The firm, which owns Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventure and Thorpe Park, says a roller coaster accident earlier this year had contributed to a significant drop in visitors.

In June, Alton Towers was temporarily closed following a collision on the Smiler roller coaster. Of the sixteen injuries sustained during the crash, five were classified as major.

Based on summer trading and future bookings, Merlin Entertainments says it expects profits for 2015 to be at the lower end of between £40 million and £50 million for its theme parks division. – compared to £87 million last year. The company also expects the disruption to continue and says it could affect 2016 results too.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Nick Varney said: "The trends we reported at the half-year have continued throughout the summer." He added that the weak euro was impacting visitor numbers at London attractions.

However, he  noted that the performance of the company's Legoland Parks has remained strong.

Victims' recovery

Recently, one of the victims, Victoria Balch spoke to the BBC. She underwent several surgeries following the incident and eventually had her right leg amputated.

She said that Alton Towers seemed to be doing everything they could for those affected by the crash and that she had received weekly visits from park staff.

"It's not their fault personally – they're normal people who have families," she explained.

Leah Washington also had a leg amputated following the accident, while Joe Pugh suffered severe knee injuries and Daniel Thorpe suffered a broken leg and punctured lung.

Merlin Entertainments says it has contacted all of those injured during the crash and that victims would be receiving compensation.The firm also pointed out that it was the first accident in the company's history.

In early trading on Thursday (September 17th), share prices in Merlin dropped one per cent.

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