LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Merlin Entertainments, which runs tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds waxworks and Legoland, on Tuesday forecast good profit growth for 2016, in line with market expectations.
Updating on trading for the 47 weeks to Nov. 19 the world’s second-biggest visitor attractions group behind Walt Disney said underlying trading at its Midway Attractions division, which includes Sea Life and The Dungeons, had remained consistent with its September update, when it downgraded expectations.
Merlin had lowered its full-year core earnings margin forecast at that time due to weaker trading at its Midway unit, which runs city centre attractions.
The firm said its Resort Theme Parks division, which includes Alton Towers, enjoyed a strong Halloween period, helped by favourable weather.
Its Legoland Parks division showed continued positive momentum following two years of strong growth, although trading in Florida remained soft due to challenging market conditions.
Prior to Tuesday’s update analysts were forecasting a pretax profit for 2016 of 273.3 million pounds ($339 million), up from 250 million pounds in 2015.
Shares in Merlin, up 4 percent so far this year, closed Monday at 436.5 pence, valuing the group at 4.46 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.8061 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)