Easier ride for Euro Disney

Euro Disney is now clearly on the up slope of the big dipper ride it has been on since it opened in 1992.

The theme park operator has already achieved the remarkable feat of having recorded its only profits before a single customer crossed its threshold. But half-time figures yesterday suggest that the red ink may soon be a thing of the past.

The net deficit was slashed from Fr1.06bn (£134m) to Fr241m (£30.8m) in the six months to March, and the crucial turnover figure, wounded by Euro Disney's near-collapse last year, is now showing signs of life.

That reflects a much healthier underlying trading picture than has been evident for some time.

Admissions are recovering strongly, after slumping by a million to 8.8 million in the year to last September. Euro Disney said visitor numbers were 3 per cent ahead of the comparable 1993/4 period in the first, pre-Christmas, quarter of the current financial year, accelerating to 11 per cent growth in the second.

The revival has come even before the price cuts that reduced admission charges by up to 22 per cent from 1 April, and bodes well for the important summer season. Euro Disney earns around a third of its revenues between July and September.

But, despite all the good news, the group remains a long way from justifying even its much-reduced share price, which climbed a further 17p to 188p yesterday. The latest figures were flattered by last summer's Saudi-backed Fr13bn refinancing and Fr6bn rights at Fr10 (116p), which temporarily relieved Euro Disney of most of its lease rental commitments, along with the management fees and royalties payable to Walt Disney in the US. That cut out Fr118m in fees and royalties paid last time and reduced the leasing bill by Fr600m.

Both those charges will kick in again fully from 1998, and before then, Euro Disney must contend with the strength of the French franc, which may not be putting off the Germans, with their even stronger currency, but is clearly deterring other Europeans. Even so, sales could rise to Fr5bn this year, bringing break-even within reach.

Nigel Reed at brokers Paribas believes it will take another Fr3bn of turnover to realise the earnings of Fr1 per share that would make the current share price sustainable. That would require more than 13 million visitors to pass through Euro Disney's turnstiles and could take until well into the next century, on present trends.

These shares are only for the brave.

New-look

Bullers

Bullers has gone through a transformation since it was boarded by David Cunningham, former chairman of Waterglade International, 18 months ago.

The new chairman, who now owns 15 per cent of the shares, has redirected Bullers towards media services since paying £1.9m for Wiseman, a film post-production company, in February 1992.

Seven months' profits from Wiseman provided the lion's share of the improvement in the group's results for the year to December, announced yesterday.

Those showed losses cut to £394,000 from £1.23m in the previous six months (reflecting a changed year-end). Despite extensive surgery, losses continued in the original businesses, which produce enamelled boxes, pewter figures, bronzes and fireplace surrounds.

Orders in all areas are ahead of last year and Mr Cunningham is confident they will all be in profit this year. That could push Bullers into the black to the tune of £1.6m and the new chairman is lining up acquisitions.

Bilston & Battersea Enamels, a rival enamel box maker, is not interested in talking at the moment, but an announcement about the acquisition of a 3-D imaging business and a multimedia company could be less than six weeks away.

Followers of former financier Jim Slater may be influenced by his and his son's holding of just under 4 per cent of the shares. The 2,200 small shareholders are being offered a way out, free of dealing charges, by Bullers' brokers in a move that should cut the cost of running the share register. The shares, down 1.75p to 13.75p, remain speculative.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map