Eden Project posts record losses amid £2million land sale
The struggling Eden Project has reported its worst financial performance since it opened in 2001.
The Eden Trust accounts for 2012-13 show a deficit of £6.3m for the year ending March 2013, compared with a surplus the previous year of £136,000.
The environmental attraction said its underlying trading loss was about £1.3m compared with a profit of £3.6m in the previous year.
It blamed the poor performance on interest in the 2012 Olympics, bad summer weather and the economic downturn.
A statement in the accounts said: "With asset sales in the region of £2m, Eden expects to pay off borrowings and other liabilities totalling £3.3m during 2013-14.”
The financially-troubled operation was split into two separate organisations last year in an attempt to “strengthen” its performance.
Co-founder Sir Tim Smit has now stood down from the role of chief executive just a few months after the iconic attraction went to the Government for a bail-out.
Sir Tim, the public face of the ecological showpiece since 2001, has taken a step back from day-to-day running and will instead take on a new role leading a new development unit, Eden Regeneration.
Visitor numbers dropped below one million in 2012-13 to 953,000 for the year, and Eden made 54 job cuts to its staff of 445.
It emerged recently that Cornwall Council had spent £1.3million propping up the ailing visitor destination.
Eden said it had cut jobs and made other changes since the accounting period ended.
It said in the accounts: "Eden has been reluctant to reduce its level of employment, but has concluded that this is essential to preserve and grow Eden for the longer term.
"Eden is ensuring that the business will remain profitable even if visitor numbers were to reduce further."
Since March 2013, the attraction has also sold surplus land, it said.
Malcolm Bell, head of tourism body Visit Cornwall said: "I think if you have 10 years of good trading, you tend to think that the world won't change that dramatically, which it obviously did."