Dreamworld in the future

Ardent Leisure shares have again been sold down as analysts predict a 75 per cent profit plunge after this week’s Dreamworld tragedy and speculate about future implications for the embattled theme park operator.

As investigations continue into the cause of this week’s accident at the Thunder River Rapids ride, which claimed the lives of four people, investors are trying to assess the future structure of the company. Ardent had signalled before the tragedy it was moving its focus to its more lucrative event business in the United States. Preparing for this step, shareholders approved a name change from Ardent Leisure to Main Event Entertainment at the company’s emotional shareholder meeting on Thursday.

One option that the company hasn’t ruled out after the tragedy could see Ardent sell the theme park division – which includes Dreamworld and adjacent WhiteWater World on the Gold Coast – off to a private operator and exit the business.

Facing shareholders and the media at the group’s annual general meeting, outgoing chairman Neil Balnaves said that while there was no intention to sell the theme parks, it could be an option in the future.