Dealing in thrills and spills

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park at the new ride

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park at the new ride

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​ATTRACTIONS company Paragon Entertainment, the firm behind the new Wallace and Gromit ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the £97m Titanic exhibition in Belfast, doubled earnings in 2013 and announced plans to roll out its new ​Nerf gun-branded attractions.

The York-based group has trialled three Nerf attractions and is now keen to roll out the concept across the UK.

Paragon has signed a licensing agreement with toy manufacturer Hasbro International to operate the attractions. Nerf guns fire foam bullets and have become very popular with children, teenagers and fathers.

​Paragon’s chief executive Mark Pyrah said: “We licensed the first attraction just before Christmas with Gullivers theme park and we’ve done three Nerfs with them. It was a test to see if we could work with a third party on attractions.

“Nerf holds a huge amount of potential and ultimately we want to create fantastic Nerf attractions. We’d love to do hundreds.”

Paragon announced underlying earnings of £600,000 in the year to December 31, up from £300,000 the previous year.

Revenue increased 64 per cent to £10.0m.

The company’s next plans include a Hammer House of Horror visitor attraction to cash in on the huge success of the recent success of the Hammer film The Woman in Black, which was the highest grossing ​B​ritish horror movie in the UK.​ ​Paragon is looking for its first ​Hammer ​site in London.

​The firm said its creative division, which designs and builds attractions for operators of theme parks, museums and attractions, went from “strength to strength” in 2013.

Mr Pyrah said the highlights of the year were the £7m Olympics Museum in Lausanne, which he said was delivered on time and within budget, the Eureka Children’s Museum, Twickenham Rugby Museum and Mint Street.

Mint Street tells the story of the Royal Mint at the Tower of London.

The group has also started work on Hamley’s Russia and Kidzania London.

Mr Pyrah said there is a strong pipeline of orders going into 2014/15​. Earlier this year, the group launched a new leisure and licencing division to capitalise on the worldwide appeal of attractions linked to children’s toys such as Nerf guns.

The new division will commercialise the IP rights of products to operators and leisure attractions.

Analyst Marcus Tregoning at Cenkos said: “The order book currently stands at over £10m of confirmed orders spanning over 2014 and 2015.

“The wider sector has seen strong growth such that Paragon’s pipeline of potential opportunities has increased considerably to in excess of £70m.”

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