RAIN AND RISING COSTS TAKE ARDENT FOR A RIDE

RAIN AND RISING COSTS TAKE ARDENT FOR A RIDE

DRIVING rains at the end of January hit revenues at Dreamworld, but the theme park still managed to deliver a solid performance over the six months to the end of December.

Theme park owner Ardent Leisure Group (AAD) reports a 5.5 per cent lift in revenue to $55.9 million during the half year.

Revenue growth was driven by higher visitor numbers, although Ardent says spending per visitor was down.

This should have translated to an improved bottom line, but Ardent says higher electricity costs due to the carbon tax and higher licence fees put a squeeze on margins.

This led to a 1 per cent fall in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to $19.6 million.

Ardent Leisure CEO Greg Shaw says revenue growth at Dreamworld had been aided by new product releases, including the Kung Fu Panda attraction, and the resurrection of reality TV show Big Brother.

He says costs should come under control in the second half as licence fees normalise and power-saving measures are introduced at the theme park.

The current half year already has had a setback after revenues during Dreamworld’s peak January period slipped 1.7 per cent to $12.1 million due to the wet Australia Day weekend.

Across the group, Ardent Leisure – operator of health clubs, bowling alleys and marinas – posted an 11.4 per cent increase in its bottom line profit to $21.4 milion.

Group revenue lifted 9.8 per cent to $219.7 million.

Ardent Leisure is making an interim distribution of 6.6c per stapled security, up from 6.5c a year ago.

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