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Chinese tourists boost Ardent's profits

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016 Petrina Berry

Ardent Leisure has profited from an increasing number of Chinese visitors to its theme parks and the successful rollout of its US family entertainment centres.

The entertainment group says its theme parks and bowling venues in Australia and its US entertainment centres, Main Event, all recorded revenue growth in the year to June 30.

Ardent's full-year profit rose 32 per cent to $42 million, thanks to a 16.3 per cent rise in revenue to $665 million.

Its theme parks, including Dreamworld and WhiteWater World on the Gold Coast, reported an increase in visitor numbers with revenue rising eight per cent on the prior year to $107.6 million.

Ardent said new attractions and an increase in domestic and international visitors, in particular Chinese tourists, and strong growth in its food and beverage sales bolstered its theme parks business.

Main Event, the group's large north American multi-sport and entertainment venues with bowling, rock climbing and sports bars, had a 22 per cent rise in revenue to $US174.7 million ($A229.4 million), driven by the opening of seven new venues.

Ardent said its Australian bowling revenue rose 12 per cent to $130.5 million as it successfully transformed AMF and Kingpin bowling alleys into multi-attraction entertainment venues.

The group is selling its marinas and health clubs with plans to reinvest the proceeds into growing its successful US family entertainment centres.

Chief executive Deborah Thomas said Main Event would continue to be the key driver of future growth with 11 centres planned to open in 2016/17.

"There will be a laser-like focus on Main Event," Ms Thomas said in a statement on Wednesday.

She said the favourable exchange rate, an increase in international tourists and the Commonwealth Games promotions would fuel growth at its theme parks in Australia.

Dreamworld is also expected to benefit from its revamped Tiger Island, due to reopen in September, and the addition of Australia's largest LEGO retail store slated to open in November.

TOURISTS BOOST ARDENT'S PROFITS:

* Net profit up 32pct to $42m

* Revenue up 16.3pct to $664m

* Fully franked final dividend unchanged at 5.50 cents

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