Ardent Leisure thrills

The theme park operator delivered a better than expected result despite hitting the gutter at its bowling alleys.

Theme park and leisure facilities operator Ardent Leisure (AAD) has delivered a result that is ahead of the market expectations.

The group posted a 15.1% rise in revenue to $448.9 million for the year ended June 30 this year as core earnings jumped 19.2% to $50.3 million.

The results are likely to lead to earnings forecast upgrades tomorrow as the figures come in above consensus estimates. Analysts had been expecting a top line of $441.4 million and a core profit of $47.2 million.

The key businesses that contributed to the pleasing result were health clubs and its US family entertainment centres. Its theme park division also managed to deliver earnings growth in the challenging market.

However, its bowling centres were a drag with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) falling 13.8% to $12.8 million due to rising costs and construction work at some of its centres.

The group’s 12 cents a share dividend for the last financial year is 2.6% above last year’s distribution and is inline with consensus estimates.

Management didn’t give guidance but said it is experiencing a solid start to the 2013-14 year. The results were released after the market closed on Wednesday.

The stock, which is part of the Uncapped 100, dipped 1 cent to close at $1.69 but is up 23.4% over the past year.

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