April 27, 2018 / 7:00 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Madame Tussauds owner says visitors still avoiding London after 2017 attacks

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LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments said on Friday visits to its London attractions were still suffering from the impact of last year’s militant attacks in Britain.

The world’s second-biggest visitor attractions group behind Walt Disney also runs the London Eye Ferris wheel, Sea Life, the London Dungeons and Shrek’s Adventure in the capital.

“Visitation in our London division remains down year on year reflecting the strong trading in the comparative period and continued impact from the 2017 terror attacks,” Merlin said.

“We remain confident of a recovery over time,” it said.

In 2017 Merlin said a series of militant attacks in Britain had hit demand.

Britain suffered five attacks last year which were classified as terrorism by the authorities, four of which were blamed on Islamist militants and one on a far-right extremist.

Four of the attacks were in London.

Britain remains on the second-highest threat level of “severe”, meaning an attack is considered highly likely.

Merlin, which also runs theme parks such as Alton Towers as well as Legoland, said its overall trading had been in line with expectations and consistent with guidance published with 2017 results on March 1.

The group makes most of its profit outside Britain, operating more than 120 attractions, 15 hotels and six holiday villages in 25 countries across four continents.

Shares in Merlin, down 31 percent year-on-year, closed Thursday at 346.7 pence, valuing the business at 3.54 billion pounds ($4.93 billion). ($1 = 0.7187 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, editing by Kate Holton and Alistair Smout)

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