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Asset sales reduce Experience Co’s half-yearly losses as tourism operator

Asset sales reduce Experience Co’s half-yearly losses as tourism operator
February 20, 2021

Experience Co, Far North Queensland’s largest biggest tourism operator, has revealed a half-yearly net loss of $200,000 in its results to 31st December.

Experiencing a significant downturn in income, the ASX-listed company’s losses were offset by the $27 million sales of hot air ballooning operations and Cairns-based white water rafting firm Raging Thunder.

In a notice to shareholders, Experience Co Chief Executive, John O’Sullivan said the results could have been worse, advising “we are pleased to have recommenced all core operations by the end of the first half, and more so, that we are a tourism business generating cashflow. Our business has seen resilient consumer demand, despite the pandemic and uncertainty of interstate borders.”

O’Sullivan also indicated opportunities that might exist to acquire rival businesses after JobKeeper ends while revealed details of the progress of the company’s new $6.7 million floating pontoon-based hotel to be moored at Moore Reef on the Great Barrier Reef.

Construction is well under way ahead of the attraction’s 2022 launch as an extension of the Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel indigenous sea ranger tours.

The two-storey structure will have a purpose-built laboratory - the first of its kind on the Great Barrier Reef - and a floor-to-ceiling underwater observatory, all built at Cairns shipyards.

The multimillion-dollar attraction has been backed by a $3 million contribution from the Queensland Government with Experience Co financing the remaining $3.7 million cost.

Looking forward, O’Sullivan stated “we remain grateful to governments at all levels for their financial and non-financial support and we look forward to continuing to work together as the industry emerges from the pandemic.”

As for future acquisitions, he noted “we are still very active in monitoring what’s out there.”

Anticipating that international arrivals will be unlikely for a lengthy period, O’Sullivan predicted the skydive business could reach about 50% of normal operations in Australia, but only 20% in New Zealand while reef tourism operations could get up to the 40-50% mark.

O’Sullivan concluded “that’s not assuming any pick up, if you will, of people suddenly having pent-up demand for travel.

“Those are very directional estimates, but they’re sort of the trend lines that are starting to emerge.”

Founded in 1999, Experience Co offer adventure experiences of tandem skydiving, hot air ballooning, white water rafting, canyoning, sea kayaking, and tours to the Great Barrier Reef.

The company currently has numerous locations throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Images: Construction is advancing on Experience Co's new Dreamtime Island tourist pontoon to be stationed at Moore Reef from 2022 (top, credit: Experience Co) and Experience Co's John O'Sullivan (below).

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