THE leisure giant that owns Weymouth's Sea Life adventure park has posted a fall in profits.

Dorset-based Merlin Entertainments saw a 22 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £34million for the six months to June 29.

Merlin said visitor numbers to its attractions rose three per cent to 30.8m, which was “broadly” in line with expectations in what is traditionally its quieter period.

Revenue grew by 8.1 per cent overall to £763 million.

Midway attractions, including Madame Tussauds and Sea Life, and resort theme parks returned to growth as the group added more attractions and accommodation. However, Legoland sites failed to attract as many visitors.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: “Group performance year to date has been broadly in line with our expectations in the seasonally quieter first half of the year, with 6.5 per cent organic revenue growth driven by a combination of like for like growth, continued contribution from new openings and the benefit of a diversified portfolio.

“After a number of years of headwinds, it is pleasing to see both midway and resort theme parks returning to better levels of like for like revenue growth, with improved cash generation.”

He added: “Trading in Legoland Parks has however been more disappointing. Although we enjoyed a strong Easter and spring break performance, trading since then has been affected by poor weather in May and June, difficult market conditions in a number of countries and limited momentum from The Lego Movie 2.

“With eight new midway attractions opened in the period, 372 new accommodation rooms, and the ongoing development of new Legoland parks, we continue to build on our position a unique, multi-format international operator of strongly branded and IP-led location-based entertainment.”

Merlin’s board recently urged shareholders to back a £5.9billion takeover bid from the owners of Lego, a private equity giant and a Canadian pension fund.

Merlin announced last week that it would be removing Weymouth's Jurassic Skyline tower, originally the Sea Life Tower.

It blamed a decrease in visitors to the attraction, which opened in Weymouth in 2012.

The 53-metre tower had failed to reopen for the summer season after being closed for the winter.

The ride, based at the Pavilion peninsula, has been sold to another operator and will be removed in due course. It is understood it will leave the UK.