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Ardent Leisure share price drops on mixed earnings result

The Ardent Leisure Group Ltd (ASX: ALG) share price has pulled back slightly after being down nearly 5% in early trade after the company reported its full-year earnings for 2019.

What did Ardent Leisure announce?

Ardent reported a net loss after tax of $60.9 million for the full year, a 32.9% improvement from the previous year. Improved revenues from its new entertainment centres and current theme parks were offset by increased spending on safety, repairs and maintenance.

Highlights from Ardent’s full-year report included:

  • Revenue for FY19 up 11.7% to $483.3 million
  • Revenue from continuing business grew 14.4% from the prior period to $60.9 million
  • EBITDA earnings lifted to $11.7 million from a loss of $54 million in 2018
  • EBIT improved 63% to -$40.7 million
  • Theme park EBIT -$29.1 million

Ardent reported that no final dividend will be payed for FY19, so that the company can continue to invest in theme parks and its US-based Main Event business to drive recovery and future growth.

What has impacted Ardent’s earnings?

Ardent’s US-based leisure and entertainment business Main Event achieved growth of 7.9%, reporting $US297.3 million for FY19. The company added one new Main Event entertainment centre in Colorado, taking the total store number to 42 outlets.

The company’s Australian theme parks division, which includes Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and the SkyPoint observation deck, saw revenue improve 0.5% from the prior year to $67.1 million for FY19. Although attendance was adversely impacted by the Colonial Inquest, revenue was boosted by a 13.1% increase in average per-capita spending.

Ardent also discontinued its bowling and entertainment business and marina operations.

Outlook for Ardent

Ardent is expected to open 4 new Main Event centres and increase constant centre revenue by 1–2% in FY20. From 2021 onwards, the company expects to open a further 5–8 centres. Ardent also reported that the company will continue to focus on reducing expenses at its theme parks. Ardent aims to invest $50 million on new rides, attractions and systems over the next 3–5 years. The proposed investment is expected to set Dreamworld on the path to recovery.

Ardent continues to recover after 4 people died in an accident at the company’s Dreamworld theme park. The company’s ‘flying theatre’ attraction, Sky Voyager, is also expected to open today at Dreamworld.  

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Motley Fool contributor Nikhil Gangaram has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.