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Universal ‘back on the offensive’ says Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh

Following a dire 2020, Comcast’s Mike Cavanagh is predicting a much better year for Universal’s theme park division




With COVID-19 hopefully soon to be in its rear view, Universal is looking ahead to a much brighter 2021   Credit: Nauris Pūķis on Unsplash

Following a year in which Universal’s parks went from annual profits of US$3bn to losses of more than US$500m, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh has declared the operator to be “back on the offensive” with returning customers and new developments signalling recovery for the company.

Universal, like the rest of the theme park industry, was hit hard by the COVID-19. Following a record-breaking 2019, the global pandemic put the brakes on Universal’s park successes, with a negative earnings swing of 122%.

For revenue, figures declined 68.9%, down from US$5.93bn (€4.89bn, £4.32bn) in 2019 to US$1.84bn (€1.52bn, £1.34bn) in 2020.

Things did look brighter for Q4 2020 however, with the Universal parks division almost breaking even despite operating at limited capacity.

The good news seemed to keep rolling for Universal through the start of 2021, with the recently announced a return to construction on Epic Universe, as well as the reopening of Universal Studios Hollywood following a year of closure and the long-awaited launch of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. Universal’s largest ever development to date - Universal Studios Beijing - is also set to open later this year.

Speaking during the Comcast Corporation Management Presents at Deutsche Bank 29th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Cavanagh said things were looking much brighter for Universal’s theme park operations.

“It's a shame that a pandemic came along to take the air out of the balloon for a little while, but we have a fantastic business,” he said.

“We went from close to US$3bn to negative US$500m in a flash. We came back to break even in the fourth quarter and so as we head into this year it's encouraging.

We just got news that Hollywood will be clear to open again with some constraints in April, so we’re starting to see the green shoots of the ability to really start to bring capacity back.

I think we will end up feeling good as COVID moves behind us. We just brought back a week ago construction on the fourth gate in Florida. It’s an important signal of the company being back on offensive footing.

We've got a lot of developments coming and feel good that this is a great long-term return on capital business and we're happy to put our money there. We feel good about the future of our parks.”


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Universal ‘back on the offensive’ says Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh | Planet Attractions

news

Universal ‘back on the offensive’ says Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh

Following a dire 2020, Comcast’s Mike Cavanagh is predicting a much better year for Universal’s theme park division




With COVID-19 hopefully soon to be in its rear view, Universal is looking ahead to a much brighter 2021   Credit: Nauris Pūķis on Unsplash

Following a year in which Universal’s parks went from annual profits of US$3bn to losses of more than US$500m, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh has declared the operator to be “back on the offensive” with returning customers and new developments signalling recovery for the company.

Universal, like the rest of the theme park industry, was hit hard by the COVID-19. Following a record-breaking 2019, the global pandemic put the brakes on Universal’s park successes, with a negative earnings swing of 122%.

For revenue, figures declined 68.9%, down from US$5.93bn (€4.89bn, £4.32bn) in 2019 to US$1.84bn (€1.52bn, £1.34bn) in 2020.

Things did look brighter for Q4 2020 however, with the Universal parks division almost breaking even despite operating at limited capacity.

The good news seemed to keep rolling for Universal through the start of 2021, with the recently announced a return to construction on Epic Universe, as well as the reopening of Universal Studios Hollywood following a year of closure and the long-awaited launch of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. Universal’s largest ever development to date - Universal Studios Beijing - is also set to open later this year.

Speaking during the Comcast Corporation Management Presents at Deutsche Bank 29th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Cavanagh said things were looking much brighter for Universal’s theme park operations.

“It's a shame that a pandemic came along to take the air out of the balloon for a little while, but we have a fantastic business,” he said.

“We went from close to US$3bn to negative US$500m in a flash. We came back to break even in the fourth quarter and so as we head into this year it's encouraging.

We just got news that Hollywood will be clear to open again with some constraints in April, so we’re starting to see the green shoots of the ability to really start to bring capacity back.

I think we will end up feeling good as COVID moves behind us. We just brought back a week ago construction on the fourth gate in Florida. It’s an important signal of the company being back on offensive footing.

We've got a lot of developments coming and feel good that this is a great long-term return on capital business and we're happy to put our money there. We feel good about the future of our parks.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2022