Australia’s largest theme park operator VRL to build a theme park in Hainan
VILLAGE Roadshow put on a stellar performance in the 2012-13 financial year, lifting attributable after-tax profit more than 50 per cent to $50.9 million on the back of a standout showing from its Gold Coast theme parks.
The profit was earned on income of $936.357 million and saw earnings per share rise to 36.2, from 34.4 in the previous year, and full-year dividend jump to 26 a share from 22 previously.
VRL said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped 6 per cent from $154.7 million to $164 million.
It said its Coast theme parks, despite bad weather, delivered gross earnings of $83.5 million, up from $82 million in 2011-12 and their second highest EBITDA ever.
The Gold Coast parks division comprises Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild, Australian Outback Spectacular, Paradise Country, Village Roadshow Studios, Sea World Resort and Water Park, and Sea World Helicopters.
Movie World attendance topped two million for the first time.
The three US water parks lifted gross earnings to $7.8 million, from $5.4 million, taking overall theme park gross earnings to $89.3 million, up from $87.4 million. Theme park visits rose by 709,000 to 5.4 million, revenue was up by 5.6 per cent to $14.4 million and EBITDA 1.8 per cent to $1.5 million.
VIP annual pass sales underpinned the performance of the parks whose admissions revenue rose $3.8 million to $139.3 million.
Chief operating officer Bob White said the VIP passes constituted a value offering and were a major business driver.
"We are selling 900,000 units and it is not only southeast Queensland residents who are buying. Interstate visitors also find the VIP pass attractive," he said.
Mr White said VRL's commitment to "fresh and compelling new attractions" would see the opening at Sea World in late spring of Storm Coaster — a ride through a storm-ravaged container port.
He said VRL also was extending Sea World's Polar Bear Park where a cub is due in September.
"We are optimistic about our theme parks, particularly with the falling dollar which means they offer compelling value," he said.
VRL said its Wet'n'Wild park in Las Vegas opened on time and on budget in late May, joining facilities at Phoenix, Arizona and in Hawaii.
VRL manages and holds 51 per cent of the park and said trading at all US venues was solid.
It said the Wet'n'Wild Sydney, to open in December, would feature Australia's largest wave pool and "attractions unmatched by any water park in the world".
VRL said the focus now was to explore park opportunities in Asia.
Mr White said while it often worked well to have a partner in Asia, the company "will look at each opportunity individually".
VRL said work was progressing on a theme park on Hainan Island, which it will manage for Guangzhou R&F Properties, and will open its first stage in late 2014.
It said its cinema division, which is rolling out 18 new cinema complexes across Australia, achieved gross earnings of $58.5 million, up $7.4 million. But earnings from its film distribution division fell from $50.8 million to $46.2 million.
The 13 second-half dividend is payable on October 1. VRL shares opened at $6.11 and closed at $6.16.
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