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Why Ardent Leisure’s (ASX:ALG) share price is up 46% from 28 September

The Ardent Leisure Group Ltd (ASX: ALG) share price is falling today, down 5.1% in early afternoon trading.

The broader market is under pressure as well, with the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) down 0.6%. Ardent Leisure’s losses likely reflect investor concerns over COVID-19 and when the company’s theme parks will be able to reopen at full capacity.

These same concerns, magnified many-fold, saw Ardent’s share price smashed by 92% from 21 February through to 25 March. The share price has gained 470% from that low, though it’s still down 44% year-to-date.

Despite today’s selloff, Ardent’s share price remains up 46% since 28 September. We’ll look at why in a tick. But first…

What does Ardent Leisure do?

Ardent Leisure is an Australian leisure and entertainment group. The company owns and operates premium leisure assets which include Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint theme parks.

Its Main Event portfolio also includes a growing number of family entertainment assets in the United States.

Why has the share price soared 46% since 28 September?

The Ardent Leisure share price hasn’t suffered just because of the pandemic. It has also remained under pressure from ongoing litigation related to the tragic deaths of 4 people on one of its Dreamworld water rides in October 2016.

But on 28 September, Ardent announced that the legal prosecution was finalised, and that the company accepted the court’s decision to impose a $3.6 million for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act.

In a written statement, Ardent chair Gary Weiss said:

Ardent apologises, unreservedly, for the past circumstances and failures at Dreamworld that resulted in the tragic loss of four lives…

Ardent accepts responsibility for this tragedy without qualification or reservation. Following the first public hearing in June 2018, Ardent indicated that it would implement all of the coroner’s recommendations, and more recently it pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to all three charges brought by the Work Health and Safety prosecutor…

There has been considerable change at Dreamworld over the last few years… driven by the new and experienced leadership team, has resulted in a complete overhaul of Dreamworld’s safety systems which has led to enhancements to existing systems and practices and the adoption of new ones.

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Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben 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.

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