DXB Entertainments narrows full-year loss by two thirds and looks to improve in 2020

The company expects profitability in the first and fourth quarter as its efficiency programme helps it reduce operating costs

DXB Entertainments, the theme park operator of Legoland and Motiongate in Dubai, narrowed its full-year loss by 66 per cent and the company's unaudited earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was positive in the fourth quarter.

The unadjusted loss for the full year ending December, shrunk to Dh855 million, from Dh2.5 billion during the same period in 2018, the company said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares trade.

The 2018 results factored impairment charges after the company scrapped plans to open a Six Flags theme park in the emirate due to a lack of financing, as well as an impairment in the value of the existing park. The adjusted loss in 2018 was Dh1bn.

“I am pleased to report strong performance during the final quarter of the year, with the implementation of our efficiency programme helping us deliver an adjusted Ebitda profit of Dh2m for three months ended December 31, 2019,” said Mohamed Almulla, chief executive and managing director of DXB Entertainments.

“This marks the first quarter of profitability in the history of our company and is an encouraging result as we progress with the implementation of our strategy, focused on driving business growth and operational efficiency.”

Full-year revenue fell 9.2 per cent year-on-year to Dh491m, whereas average hotel occupancy edged up 3 per cent to 62 per cent. The number of total visits for the full year dropped 7 per cent year-on-year to Dh2.6m. Of the total group revenue of Dh491m, Dh310m was generated through theme parks, Dh84m from hospitality, Dh51m in retail and Dh46m via other revenue streams.

Adjusted Ebitda for the last quarter of the year reached Dh2m, compared to a loss of Dh65m during the same period in 2018. DXB Entertainments is expected to make profits in the first quarter and fourth quarter, Mr Almulla said. The second and third quarters would remain loss making, he added.

“Our efficiency programme is delivering good results,” he said. “Our focus is now on delivering Ebitda profitability on a full-year basis by achieving revenue growth, specifically through initiatives to drive visitation from our core international markets and through our hotel strategy”.

An enhancement plan at Motiongate and Bollywood Parks is on target for delivery in the second half of 2020, according to the company. A Legoland hotel with 250 rooms is expected to be delivered in the first half of this year.

The "outlook for 2020 is good", Mr Almulla said, with the company moving ahead with its park enhancement plan and hotel strategy. Twelve rides will be added to the company's parks before the end of the year. The Legoland hotel will increase the available of on-site hotel room inventory to more than 1,300 keys.

“We remain focused on our goal of growing visitation," Mr Almulla said.