In 2002, Euro Disney S.C.A. learnt the hard way not to spread itself too thinly too soon. After the costly opening of Walt Disney Studios Park, it was hit by a general downturn in tourism which led to its 2001 profit of €30.5m plunging to a loss of €33.1m the next year. In 2008, after two very positive years and great leaps in attendance and occupancy, the resort has proudly posted its first net profit since the opening of that second gate.

The key points of the 2008 Annual Report were as follows:

Net profit of €2m, third consecutive year of growth
• EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) increased 21% to €249m
• Park attendance up 0.8m to 15.3m
• Hotel room occupancy up 1.6ppt to 90.9%

The net profit of €1.7m cements a growth trend which saw losses shrink from €88.6m in 2006 to €41.6m in 2007, showing steady growth for three years running. Some reports suggest that the operating group would have achieved a far greater profit still, but wisely chose to move €30m directly into paying off its long-standing debt of over €2bn rather than take this as (subsequently tax-deducted) profit.

In the Theme Parks segment, revenues were up 8.7% to €715.8m, primarily reflecting the increased attendance and a 3% increase in average spending per guest, to €46.3. The increase in Theme Parks attendance was driven by higher guest visitation from the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.

Park attendance of 15.3 million guests is by far the highest in the resort’s history, the previous record being 14.5 million last year, for the first time marking an entry in the kind of attendance levels hoped for during the original construction of the resort and again during the construction of Walt Disney Studios Park. This comes in the same year that the resort celebrated welcoming its 200,000,000th (two hundred millionth) park guest.

Hotels & Disney Village saw its segment revenues rise 6.7% to €515.6m, reflecting the increase in room occupancy and a 7% increase in average guest spending per room to €211.4m. The increase in occupancy represented an extra 37,000 room nights compared to Fiscal Year 2007, driven mostly by more visitors from the United Kingdom and Spain.

Commenting on the results, new CEO Philippe Gas said:

“We reached an important milestone in 2008 by achieving profitability. Our revenues, theme parks attendance and hotel occupancy contributed to our performance which is noteworthy given the economic environment.

The popularity of Disneyland Resort Paris, Europe’s number one tourist destination, continued to grow as guests discovered our new attractions including the iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Cars Race Rally, Crush’s Coaster, the interactive experience Stitch Live! and the High School Musical shows inspired by the popular Disney franchise.

We are convinced that our development strategy, together with the commitment of our cast members and the strength of the Disney brand, position us well for long-term growth.”

The report also contained an update of upcoming events:

“In line with our ongoing development strategy, in the Walt Disney Studios Park, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, will provide the opportunity for our younger guests to join friends from the Disney Channel in an immersive entertainment experience, for the launch of the summer season. The park will also debut Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, a new Hollywood-style show starring characters from Toy Story, Snow White, Monsters Inc., Mulan, The Little Mermaid, and more.”

— You can download the full Annual Report here (PDF).

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