The company which runs the attractions at the Blackpool Tower plus the Sea Life and Madame Tussauds has confirmed it is to float on the London Stock Exchange for £200m.
Merlin Entertainments is the second largest theme park operator in the world after Disney with 99 attractions in 22 countries. In the 35 weeks to the end of August the group saw revenues increase by 11.1 per cent to £888.7m.
A prospectus is due in the next few weeks and money raised will be used to reduce net debt, plan for the future and reward staff.
Nick Varney, chief executive officer of Merlin, said: “Merlin Entertainments comes to the market with a consistent record of strong growth in both revenues and profits and bright prospects for the future. We have successfully followed a clear and proven strategy to build a high-growth international family entertainment business, built on strong brands and a portfolio of attractions balanced by geographies, products and demographics.
“Our very strong trading performance so far this year, with revenues over 11 per cent ahead of 2012, is a further reflection of this.
“Delivering memorable experiences to our millions of visitors is our passion and we see a world of opportunity ahead of us. Our experienced team has the ability and ambition to deliver on our plans, as we develop our existing businesses and roll out Merlin’s unique portfolio of leisure brands internationally.
“The IPO will provide Merlin with the platform for our next stage of development and allow us to plan for the longer term. As such we are very excited about this next chapter of our story, and look forward to creating value for our shareholders and more magic for our customers.”
Sir John Sunderland, non-executive chairman, said: “I have been impressed by the significant growth that Merlin has delivered as a private company. But there is more to come.”