Merlin Entertainments Warns of Profit Loss in Wake of Roller Coaster Crash
Attractions operator Merlin Entertainments is warning of significant profit loss in the wake of last month's roller coaster crash at England's Alton Towers theme park.
NBC News reported this week that the U.K.-based company, which owns popular theme parks and attractions such as Legoland, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, expects its theme park division earnings for 2015 to be as low as $62 million.
For perspective, Merlin Entertainments' theme park division reported earnings of $135 million in 2014.
The warning was issued in preparation for Thursday's announcement of first half results and comes just weeks after four park guests at Alton Towers sustained serious injuries when two carriages collided on "The Smiler" roller coaster.
A 17-year-old rider had her leg amputated following the June 2 crash.
In addition to the ride, which has remained closed since the incident, Alton Towers was shut down for days after the crash.
"There has been a substantial reduction in visitors to Alton Towers and to a lesser extent at Thorpe Park," said chief executive Nick Varney via the Express. "Closing the park and suspending a number of rides across the theme parks estate was the right course of action."
Merlin Entertainments also attributes the poor projected earnings to additional ride closures at other parks and reduced marketing efforts.
"The magnitude of the financial impact is the result of both a significant reduction in revenue and the requirement to maintain an appropriate investment in customer service and marketing through peak season," Merlin Entertainments said in a statement via NBC News.
Merlin Entertainments warned that the impact could continue to be felt in 2016.
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