Zoo makes £1m pre-tax profit
By Ted JeoryA FAMILY-OWNED zoo that has become one of the region's biggest tourist attractions has made pre-tax profits of more than £1million.Colchester Zoo Ltd, owned by the Tropeano family, has seen its annual turnover break through the £6m barrier, latest accounts lodged at Companies House have revealed.
By Ted Jeory
A FAMILY-OWNED zoo that has become one of the region's biggest tourist attractions has made pre-tax profits of more than £1million.
Colchester Zoo Ltd, owned by the Tropeano family, has seen its annual turnover break through the £6m barrier, latest accounts lodged at Companies House have revealed.
According to the accounts, each of the zoo's 545,000 visitors during the year 2002/3 spent on average £15 every time they went to the Maldon Road tourist attraction.
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For the year ending October 31, 2003, Colchester Zoo Ltd's balance sheet showed the family firm had a net worth of £4.8m, up 19% on the year before.
Among its assets, the animal enclosures were valued at £2.5m and freehold property at about £962,000.
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With profit before taxation for the year peaking at £1.1m - up £300,000 on 2001/2 - the directors, who were paid a total of £30,180, awarded an annual dividend of £25,000 to the four family shareholders.
The Companies House records show Dominique Tropeano and his wife, Angela, own 96% of the zoo.
The rest is divided between their two children, Anthony, the zoo's curator, and Sarah Knuckey, both of whom were made directors last year.
The record year marked the 20th anniversary since the Tropeano family bought the zoo.
Since then Dominique Tropeano, a 58-year-old former hotel manager from Nice, and his wife have transformed it into one of the most successful tourist attractions in the region.
The company, which employs an average of 160 people throughout the year, has also ploughed millions of pounds into new enclosures and promotes worldwide animal and environmental conservation campaigns.
No-one from the zoo was available for comment, but the directors' report for 2002/3, signed by company secretary Mrs Tropeano, said: “The birth of Kito the baby elephant and the opening of the major sea lion exhibit have undoubtedly contributed to increased visitor numbers.
“The directors are greatly encouraged both by the number of people wanting to visit the zoo and the repeat visits by Gold Card holders. The zoo goes from strength to strength.”
However, the zoo has been criticised by animal rights protesters, who have staged demonstrations outside its gates.