TOURIST RUSH BOOSTS DREAMWORLD

TOURIST RUSH BOOSTS DREAMWORLD

ARDENT Leisure’s (ASX: AAD) Gold Coast theme parks cracked new records over the 2014 financial year – with attendances and profits reaching new highs.

The Dreamworld owner has reported a $49 million full-year group profit, up 37.6 per cent and driven by growth in its US bowling alley assets and its health club division.

The Gold Coast theme parks, which include Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and the Q1 Skywalk, generated $100.1 million in revenue over the year, up 3.1 per cent.

However, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) increased 7.7 per cent to 32.8 million thanks to higher operating margins and a drop in theme park costs.

The theme park profits accounted for 28 per cent of Ardent’s 2014 EBITDA, down from 30 per cent last year. However, in a sign of the profitability of the business, the theme park revenue accounted for just 20 per cent of group revenue.

The Gold Coast’s share of its contribution to Ardent’s bottom line could fall further in the coming year as the company continues to diversify its business through continued expansion.

Theme park attendances breached two million visitors for the first time, up 8.9 per cent from 1.87 million in 2013.

Ardent says the result was buoyed by a rebound in domestic and international tourists to the Gold Coast.

The rise in visitors offset a drop in their spending, down 5.3 per cent to $49.04 per capita.

The 2015 financial year has started on a softer note with revenue for July at $9 million, down from $9.4 million a year earlier.

However, Ardent Leisure says the success of the pass campaigns and higher pre-paid ticket sales have led to a surge in deferred income to $3.5 million at the end of July, up from $2 million in July last year.

This income will be released to earnings as those tickets are redeemed.

Ardent has attributed the state government-backed “theme park capital” campaign promoting the Gold Coast for the strong 2014 figures.

Dreamworld hopes to lure more visitors this financial year with the opening of new attraction Tailspin and the Triple Vortex waterslide at WhiteWater World in September.

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