Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts recorded just 6,000 visitors during the third quarter. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The COVID-19 effect played heavily on theme park operator DXB Entertainments, with nine-month revenues dropping to Dh109 million from Dh330 million a year ago. That was brought on by a 67 per cent decline in park visitor turnout, which dropped to 602,000. In the third quarter alone, visits tallied a mere 6,000. 

On the plus side, the company continued to wring out better costs, which totalled Dh205 million from Dh449 million last year. The destination partially opened to welcome visitors on September 23.

“During the closure of operations from March to September 2020, we have focused on the enhancement plan which includes addition of 10 new rides in Bollywood Parks Dubai and 2 new rides in Motiongate Dubai," said Mohammed Almulla, CEO and Managing Director.

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Piling up

The Group had losses of Dh1.06 billion for the nine months, with cashflow from operating activities turning negative to the tune of Dh155 million. Accumulated losses now stand at Dh6.21 billion as of end September 2020.

“We responded quickly and efficiently to the pandemic, and this has been clearly reflected in the 25 per cent improvement in our adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation) loss for the nine-month period, despite the challenging market environment," the CEO added.

“We are happy to have partially re-opened our destination in September 2020 and would like to thank the UAE government and our operator partners who helped us implement global theme park safety standards.

Making use of the downtime

Dubai Parks will add more thrills and spills in the coming months - the expansion of Lionsgate Zone will launch early next year and show off the world’s first theme park ride inspired by the John Wick movie franchise. Another attraction will be a Now You See Me movie-inspired roller-coaster.

"Our destination will have a total of three world record thrill rides by early 2021," the official added. “In line with our stated hotel strategy to deliver over 1,300 hotel rooms to the destination, we are getting ready to open the region’s first Legoland Hotel. This will complete our 360˚ Legoland Dubai Resort offering."

Need to keep an eye out
DXB Entertainments has outstanding bank facilities of Dh4.15 billion, which will expire in March next. Plus, there are interest payments that were deferred and which become payable in June.
“Upon expiry of the moratorium and interest deferral period, the Group will need to make principal and interest repayments which will result in projected negative cashflow position,” the note by the auditors state. “As a result, the Group is dependent on the successful implementation of the management’s plans, which include obtaining support from the parent company."