Ardent Leisure has settled a shareholder class action lawsuit following the deaths of four tourists at its Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast.
The case was filed in June 2020 to recoup the losses of people who bought shares in the company in the two years before the tragedy on the Thunder River Rapids Ride on October 25, 2016.
The lawsuit launched by about 300 shareholders alleged that Ardent misled investors about the safety measures in place before the accident that killed Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.
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A slump in visitor numbers at the Gold Coast theme park following the accident led to Ardent writing down its Dreamworld operations and posting a $50 million loss in February 2017.
“The settlement (which is subject to court approval) involves an all-inclusive payment of $26 million to the applicants and is on the basis that there is no admission of liability,” Arden said in a statement to the ASX on Thursday.
Dreamworld’s parent company has settled a shareholder lawsuit over a deadly accident in 2016. Credit: AAP
The company would incur a one-off cost of about $4 million in connection with the settlement, and the balance of the settlement payment was fully insured, the company said.
Ardent said the class action had been going for three years and the decision to settle was made in the best interests of shareholders.
An inquest in 2020 found Dreamworld presented itself as a modern, world-class theme park, but its “frighteningly unsophisticated” safety procedures were “rudimentary at best”.
The settlement is the company’s latest multi-million-dollar payout over the tragedy.
Ardent was fined $3.6 million — the largest penalty ever imposed in Queensland for a workplace accident — after pleading guilty to safety charges.
The Brisbane Supreme Court in December ordered Ardent to pay Low’s husband and two children $2.1 million.
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