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Hong Kong Disneyland’s Latest Losses Blamed on Politics, Not Virus

Hong Kong Disneyland
Gareth Brown @ Blow Up Studios

The Hong Kong Disneyland theme park saw its net losses increase to $13.5 million (HK$105 million) in its last financial year. Political unrest, rather than the coronavirus outbreak, was given the blame.

The company is slow to compile its figures and the reporting period runs from October 2018 to September 2019.

“Due to the social incidents in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter of FY19, HKDL’s full year revenue was at HK$6.0 billion and EBITDA fell by 17% to HK$1.1 billion, resulting in a net loss of HK$105 million,” the company said in a statement. The political problems in Hong Kong began in June 2019 when the local government attempted to introduce an extradition law that would have eroded fundamental differences with the mainland Chinese legal system. The proposed law was withdrawn, but the unrest continued until November and appears likely to affect the park’s current year results.

Although the 2018-19 result is the fifth consecutive year of losses, operators tried to give a strongly positive spin, giving themselves credit for “strong fundamentals seen in the past few years (that) can be attributed to sustainable yet nimble business planning.”

They said that in the first nine months of the period attendance grew by 5% and hotel occupancy increased by 8 percentage points. Those lifted revenues by 11% year-on-year, and that EBITDA was up by 20%. Including the politically charged last quarter, however, and visitor numbers dropped 4% to 6.5 million last year.

The park is owned as a joint venture between the Hong Kong government with a 53% stake, and Disney with 47%.

The park closed its doors on Jan 26, 2020, as the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China hit travel and tourism in the region. On a financial conference call last month Disney recently warned that if Hong Kong Disneyland remains closed for two months operating income could decline by about $145 million.