Legoland in Windsor, England. Accesso, which provides technology to theme parks, is suffering during lockdown © AP

Accesso is pinning its hopes on a future of virtual queues as well as a partial reopening of theme parks across the world this summer, after the closure of facilities because of the pandemic wiped out the majority of the UK technology group’s sales since late March.

The company, which counts Legoland theme park operator Merlin Entertainments and cruise line Carnival as some of its biggest customers, provides the systems visitors use to jump queues by paying extra. It earns a share of the revenue each time a person does so.

However, social distancing restrictions that have come into force across much of the world have battered the theme park industry with tourist numbers at almost zero and facilities forced to close under government guidelines.

Accesso on Monday said sales from its queue-jump technology, which accounts for almost three quarters of revenue, have collapsed to almost zero since late March.

The company has slashed costs through some job losses and furloughing half of its 568-strong workforce as it weathers the pandemic.

Shares fell as much as 20 per cent.

The decline marks a sharp reversal in fortune for the Aim-listed group, previously know as Lo-Q. Accesso’s market capitalisation soared to almost £800m — or £30 a share — in 2018 after it acquired rival Ingresso, a deal that took it into the market for West End theatre ticket systems but this has now slumped to about £50m.

However, Steve Brown, who rejoined the company as chief executive in January, argued that Accesso’s technology could prove a saviour when parks do eventually reopen as it can enable entirely virtual queues and staggered visitor entries.

“Whether it is ski lifts or museums or theme parks, no matter where you have mass gatherings of people, you are going to have to change the way you operate,” he said. “Social distancing will apply whether you are at the supermarket or on a rollercoaster.”

Mr Brown said the company already works with a theme park on a ride that has no physical queue — with users instead booking a slot online — which could be a model for parks to use in the future to comply with social distancing rules.

Accesso said it has enough cash to see it through to the autumn, assuming that restrictions lift in the late summer. Mr Brown said it has financing options beyond that point should lockdowns remain in force.

Lorne Daniel, an analyst with FinnCap, said the company had suffered as a result of shifting from licence sales to taking a share of transactions.

“It will have been pretty clear to investors that a business dependent on theme park operations will be facing a very tough period but it is somewhat ironic and unusual that a move to recurring revenue — sharing theme park sales — from license fees in order to add security has rather backfired in this case”, he said.

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