Alwaleed-backed Disneyland Paris 2014 net loss increases 45% to $141m

The results come weeks after the Saudi billionaire agreed to be part of a $532m bailout of the French theme park
Alwaleed-backed Disneyland Paris 2014 net loss increases 45% to $141m
Disneyland Paris
By Staff writer
Sat 08 Nov 2014 01:54 PM

Disneyland Paris, the French theme park in which Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 10 percent stake, reported a net loss of €113.6 million ($141.47 million) for the full year to September 30, as revenues declined 2 percent year-on-year.

The net loss increased 45 percent year-on-year, with 2013 reporting a net loss of €78.2 million.

In what the Paris-based French theme park described as “a prolonged challenging economic environment, particularly in France,” total revenues decreased two percent to €1.3 billion.

Commenting on the results, Tom Wolber, president of parent company Euro Disney S.A.S., said: "Results for the year were impacted by the continued economic softness, notably in France. Volume declines reflected the economic context…. and an approximately 10 percent reduction in our room inventory.

“Despite the challenging economy, we continued to invest in the guest experience with this summer’s successful opening of the new attraction Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, driving increased guest satisfaction and spending.”

Last month it was announced Prince Alwaleed had agreed to join a €420 million ($532 million) bailout of Euro Disney, the Paris theme park’s parent company.

The prince made the decision after visiting Disneyland Paris last month, The Mail on Sunday revealed.

The attraction secured a rescue deal from its biggest shareholder, US-based Walt Disney Company, that will see Disney swap €600 million of Euro Disney’s debt for equity and the deferment of repayments on loans until 2024, as well as new shares issued.

Under the deal, Prince Alwaleed risked having his stake dramatically cut if he did not also invest extra cash.

His support was seen as a crucial vote of confidence in the company, The Mail on Sunday report said.

Disneyland Paris racked up a net loss of $964 million in its first year of operation in 1992 and has only turned a profit in eight of the past 22 years.

Despite recording 14.9 million visitors last year, the theme park lost $99 million.

Prince Alwaleed told the newspaper he had been impressed during his visit to the park and would continue to support the company.

“We will fully subscribe to the rights issue because we support France and we support Disney,” he was quoted as saying.

“They will not take our stake. We will maintain 10 percent.

“Operationally there is no problem at all. I went to the hotels. I skinned the park, I skinned the hotels, I skinned everything. Meticulous. It is a top-notch tourist destination.”

However, he said visitor numbers to Disneyland Paris, the most popular tourist destination in Europe, had been disappointing.

“Two years ago we had 16 million visitors to Euro Disney, with half from France. Now it is down to 14 million and most of the loss comes from France. But we are seeing a plateau because revenue was up this quarter,” he said.

The Walt Disney Company has a 40 percent stake, with 10 percent owned by Alwaleed, 5 percent owned by fund manager Invesco and the rest floated on the Paris Euronext exchange.

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