Ardent slashes its dividends, its shares slide again

Former Ardent Leisure CEO Deborah Thomas at a private memorial at Dreamworld last year. Tertius Pickard/Getty Images

Ardent Leisure, the operator of Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast where four people died last year, is cutting its dividend payout by more than 75%.

The company’s second-half payout is 1 cent a share, compared to 5.5 cents last year. This takes the full year payout to 3 cents, compared to 12.5 cents in the previous year.

A short time ago, Ardent shares were down 5% to $2.02.

The company says the distribution reflects lower earnings in the Australian business following the disposal of its health clubs division and the impact of the Dreamworld tragedy.

The theme park division is expected to report a full year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss of between $2 million and $4 million.

And the company as a whole forecasts full year EBITDA of between $73 million and $75 million.

Deborah Thomas was this month replaced as CEO by Simon Kelly, a former Nine network senior executive.

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