UK theme park giant Merlin Entertainments saw pre-tax profits soar by almost 35% last year to £249 million on the back of a strong growth in visitor numbers.
The group’s attractions saw visitor numbers rise from 59.8 million in 2013 to 62.8 million last year, with Legoland being the star performer.
Merlin today revealed that it had secured a £1.3 billion banking facility to reduce existing debt and reducing financing costs.
The company said 2015 is expected to be another year of growth, with positive underlying trading and a strong new business development pipeline.
“Like for like growth will, however, be tempered by the tough comparatives created following the company's strong performance in 2014, particularly in the first half of the year,” Merlin said.
Chief executive Nick Varney said: "2014 has been another good year for Merlin, wowing over 60 million visitors in 23 countries worldwide while growing revenues by 9.6% and underlying EBITDA by 11.0% on a constant currency basis.
“The stand out performance came from the Legoland parks operating group with like for like revenue growth at over 13%.
“However, the year hasn't been without its challenges and the strong overall group result is a function of the diversified portfolio which our strategy has successfully created.
"In what has been a busy first full year as a public company, we have delivered on the near-term strategic targets set out at the time of the IPO, and our trading has met, or exceeded, expectations.
“In addition we have established a strong pipeline of potential new development projects and established important brand relationships across the business.”
He added: “Only in Merlin will you find a 'line up' encompassing Emmet, Shrek, Horrible Histories, CBeebies and Darth Vader. With this in mind, we look forward to 2015 and beyond with confidence."
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