Ardent dismisses latest shareholder attack
Ardent Leisure has dismissed the latest attack from rebel shareholders, describing rival proposals as inaccurate and misleading, amid an ongoing battle to reshuffle the board of the embattled theme park operator.
In a letter sent to shareholders on Tuesday investor Gary Weiss and property developer Kevin Seymour, who own about 10 per cent of Ardent between them, said the company had "lost its way".
The pair have urged investors to support four new board appointments - themselves among the nominees - that they say will strengthen the Ardent board and deliver new value.
Dr Weiss and Mr Seymour say new leadership is needed to improve Ardent's overall performance, adding the company's market value had plummeted by over $900 million between October 2014 and March 2017.
"On any objective basis, Ardent's operation and financial results, coupled with its governance issues over the last few years, have been poor," the pair said in a statement on Tuesday.
"There is now a clear and urgent requirement for real changes at Ardent to restore value."
But Ardent, owner of the Dreamworld Gold Coast fun park, on Wednesday urged shareholders to take no action on the rival plan, which promised potentially $1 billion of addition value for Ardent investors.
Ardent said the proposal was made up of initiatives which have already been announced, explored or implemented by its board - some of which include the recovery of attendance at its theme parks, a review of corporate costs and an improvement plan for operational performance.
The company has previously criticised the push for new board members, saying it clashes with its strategy of expanding its US-based directors, and on Wednesday said it would provide a response in the coming weeks.
The meeting of Ardent shareholders will be held on September 4, where investors will vote on the election of Dr Weiss and Mr Seymour, and two other nominees, Carl Bradford (Brad) Richmond and Andrew Hedges, as Ardent directors.
Visitor numbers at have been down at Dreamworld since four people died when a raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride in October, 2016.
The incident sparked a fall in the company's share price that has not been fully recovered.
On Wednesday, the company was trading 0.5 per cent lower at $2.135 at 1304 AEST.
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