Dreamworld parent posts eight-figure loss
DREAMWORLD parent company Ardent Leisure has reported a net loss of $60.9 million for the 2019 financial year, an improvement from the $90.7 million loss it posted this time last year.
The group said the delayed opening of Sky Voyager, which launches today after waiting nine months for State Government registration, as well as coronial inquest hearings during the year, had impacted its theme park revenue, which was still 0.5 per cent better than last year at $67.1 million.
Ardent flagged a $50 million investment in new rides at Dreamworld as key to its ongoing "smart capital investment" strategy, in which it will develop an event pipeline and possible "build out of tourist-related facilities around the park itself".
"The proposed investment on new rides along with improvements made in 2H19 is expected to set Dreamworld on the path to recovery, with the aim of returning to historical pre-incident earnings or better over the next 3-5 years," the report said.
Ardent said "significant investment" in Dreamworld would occur next financial year.
The group announced in April it had secured $225 million finance which would partly fund at least two major announcements this year.
Ardent shares were at $1.18 ahead of the market opening this morning.
Net earnings for the theme parks division, consisting of Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint, amounted to a loss of $19.8 million, compared to $93.8 million the prior year.
Revenue for the total group declined by $64.2 million, largely impacted by the sale of its bowling, entertainment and marina businesses.
The slide was slowed by an increase in revenue from ongoing operations, which increased earnings year-on-year by 14.4 per cent, an improvement due mostly to last year's $75 million valuation write-down on Dreamworld.
Shareholders will not receive a dividend for the financial year.
The group spent $5.4 million on costs related to the fatal Thunder River Rapids tragedy in 2016, less than the $6.2 million it spent the previous financial year.
Investment bank UBS last year warned the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Roozi Araghi, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Cindy Low on the Thunder River Rapids ride could see the company liable for hefty remediation costs.
It said it was focused on completing its master plan for the Dreamworld site, "showing the footprint for the leisure/theme park precinct and surplus land that could then be improved and made available for commercial development with partners".
"We have the plan and experienced team in place to implement a turnaround, however it will take time and investment," the company said.
Elsewhere in the company, its US Main Event revenue increased US$21.8 million, up 7.9 per cent versus prior year.