These 2 leisure businesses have skyrocketing share prices

Increased means and increased leisure time are natural partners and it seems two companies are benefitting from growing leisure spending. This week Ardent Leisure (ASX: AAD) announced unaudited quarterly revenues of $126.2 million for the three months to September 2014, up 19.8% on the same quarter last year. In August the group reported a full-year net profit of $35.6 million, more than double the prior year’s.

Ardent operates some of Australia’s best-known leisure assets, including the Goodlife health clubs, Dreamworld and Whitewater World theme parks and AMF and Kingpin Bowling centres. Revenues at the upmarket Goodlife health clubs increased to $40.43 million for the first-quarter in FY14, up 51.6% on the corresponding quarter. The group said an organisational restructure has positively impacted operating margins, with personal training services also on the up.

The group’s Gold Coast theme parks and Main Event family entertainment complexes in the United States also saw strong growth. The Main Event complexes saw first-quarter revenues grow to US$20.46 million, up 20.9% on the prior corresponding quarter. The group has 12 complexes in Texas and one in Arizona. Ardent says it is on track to have 19 leisure centres open by the end of FY15, with negotiations progressing on a further six sites. Texas is a surprisingly large market, with a population more than 26 million people and gross domestic product roughly equivalent to Australia’s.

The group has also reported a positive start to the December quarter, with all businesses recording trading improvements in October. The group currently trades on an attractive yield of 6% and price-to-earnings ratio of 15.

Another star performer in the entertainment industry is Melbourne-based Village Roadshow (ASX: VRL). Listed since 1988, its core businesses are theme parks, the Village cinemas and movie production and distribution. It’s one of the most successful independent movie producers in Hollywood, recently co-producing hits like The Great Gatsby and Matrix Trilogy.

However, even more potential exists within its Village Roadshow Pictures Asian division. It released its first two films in 2013 and scored some outstanding success. The film Journey to the West was the second highest grossing film in Chinese history and impressive start for Village Roadshow Asia.

The company delivered a net profit of $57.2 million for FY2013, more than double what it delivered in 2009. The total dividend payout was also up over 18% on the prior year. The business expects to open its new ‘Wet ‘n’ Wild’ theme park in Sydney this December and continues to pursue further growth in China and other parts of Asia.

Foolish takeaway

Both companies have seen their share prices grow more than 50% in the past year and the outlook remains positive. Low interest rates and increased consumer confidence should benefit discretionary spending and contribute to a rebound in domestic tourism. The lower dollar also increases tourism from abroad, while an appreciating US dollar drives US earnings higher. Both businesses also pay attractive dividends.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson does not own shares in the companies mentioned.

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