Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow each get cash injection of $70m

Ardent Leisure

Gold Coast theme park operators Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow have each announced an injection of $70 million, giving the companies some security amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ardent Leisure operates Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, while Village Roadshow (VRL) operates Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast and Paradise Country.

Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure separately announced the cash injections on Thursday (August 6) and Friday (August 7), respectively.

VRL’s funding of $70 million comes from its existing lenders and the Queensland Treasury Corporation. The company expects the injection will be sufficient to fund its cash needs for the next 12 months.

Ardent funding comes from Queensland Government

Ardent Leisure’s financial assistance comes entirely from the Queensland Government as part of its COVID-19 industry support package.

The cash injection comprises a loan of $69.9 million and a grant of $3 million, free of interest, fees or repayment requirements.

Ardent Leisure chairman, Dr Gary Weiss, and theme parks CEO, John Osborne, said: “We appreciate the Queensland Government’s strong recognition of the important role that the theme park industry plays in the economic development of Queensland and the broader tourism industry in Australia.

“The Queensland Government’s foresight in providing this financial assistance package will enable Ardent to reopen its iconic theme parks, continue to employ hundreds of people and, once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, continue to invest in future tourism infrastructure and create more local jobs.”

BGH Capital is taking over Village Roadshow

Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure are expected to release their full financial results for the 2019-20 financial year soon, which will provide a look at the impact of COVID-19.

In addition, Australian private equity firm BGH Capital is taking over Village Roadshow for an enterprise value of up to $758 million.

VRL said in a disclosure to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that BGH will pay up to $2.45 per share, consisting of a base offer price of $2.20 per share and an additional offer price of up to $0.25 per share, dependent on the reopening of theme parks and cinemas.