Ardent Leisure Group Limited (ASX: ALG) has provided a preliminary unaudited trading update for the financial year ending on 27 June 2023, highlighting the continued growth and success of its Theme Parks & Attractions business.
Despite facing macroeconomic headwinds and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has achieved remarkable results, with unaudited revenue of $83.9 million, marking a 70% increase from the prior year and a significant 25% rise above pre-COVID performance in FY19.
Throughout the year, Ardent Leisure’s Theme Parks & Attractions business recorded the highest aggregate value of ticket sales since FY16, surpassing all subsequent years.
The revenue per capita in FY23 was the highest recorded in many years, reaching levels 54% above those of FY16. The exceptional guest review scores of Dreamworld/WhiteWater World and SkyPoint have consistently outperformed other theme parks on the Gold Coast, further enhancing the company’s reputation.
Despite encountering some moderation in attendance volumes and revenues in the second half of FY23, Ardent Leisure remains optimistic about its future performance. The company anticipates breaking even in the second half of the financial year and expects to report its first positive full-year EBITDA (excluding Specific Items) since FY17.
This marks a significant improvement compared to the FY22 EBITDA loss of $15.0 million and showcases the Group’s ability to rebound from the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Looking ahead, Ardent Leisure aims to drive further growth and profitability by delivering new capital investments and attracting more domestic and international visitors. The company believes that as international and interstate visitation improves, it will benefit from the relatively fixed nature of many operating costs.
Ardent Leisure remains dedicated to its recently announced pipeline of new attractions, which is expected to drive incremental visitation and restore the business to historical earnings levels.
In addition to its operational achievements, Ardent Leisure is actively working on surplus land development. With approximately 55 hectares of land, the Group aims to secure a Preliminary Development Approval across the entire site, which would provide valuable options for the best utilization of its land holdings.
While the outcome of this process remains uncertain, the company has received positive feedback and support to proceed with its application, highlighting the potential for future expansion and development.
As Ardent Leisure reviews its capital position and funding requirements, the company acknowledges the need to maintain an appropriate cash buffer given the prevailing economic climate and challenges in the Queensland construction sector.
The Group will continue to explore capital management initiatives, including the anticipated receipt of contingent consideration from the sale of Main Event, which is estimated to be approximately US$8.8 million, although the timing is yet to be determined.
Ardent Leisure Group Limited remains focused on delivering sustained growth and value creation, leveraging its strong performance, ongoing investment in attractions, and strategic capital management.