Cedar Fair profits coast up 30% in 2nd quarter

By Jon Chavez
Courtesy of the Associated Press

August 9, 2013

SANDUSKY — Helped by a rise of in-park and out-of-park spending, Cedar Fair LP on Thursday reported a second-quarter profit of $47.4 million, or 85 cents per share, up about 30 percent over the same period a year ago when the amusement park chain had a profit of $36.6 million, or 66 cents per share.

Cedar Fair, which owns Cedar Point in Sandusky, 10 other amusement parks, and five water parks, said its quarterly revenues rose 1 percent to $361.6 million from $357.6 million a year ago. The company said it achieved the positive results even though the quarter consisted of a 13-week period and 800 operating days across its parks, compared with 14 weeks and 905 operating days a year ago.

Cedar Fair also had two fewer admission opportunities because it sold its San Diego water park last November, and decided to include its Kansas City, Mo., water park in the admission price of its Kansas City amusement park.

The profit and revenue increases directly resulted from a 5 percent rise in average in-park guest spending and a 5 percent increase in out-of-park revenues, mainly customer stays at the company’s five hotels.

The increases helped offset a 4 percent decrease in overall park attendance that occurred as a result of fewer operating days, the shift of the Easter holiday into a period preceding the openings of most of the company’s parks, and unfavorable weather.

Cedar Fair, headquartered in Sandusky, said that for the first half of the year the company achieved record revenues of $403.4 million.

Part of the company’s successful first six months resulted from new signature attractions, including the GateKeeper roller coaster at Cedar Point and the Gold Striker wooden coaster at California’s Great America near San Francisco.

“Our strong capital line-up, coupled with the second year of our ‘Thrills Connect’ marketing campaign and new e-commerce platform, have resulted in record season pass sales for our 2013 operating season,” Matt Ouimet, company president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have also experienced steady growth in group sales this year as we continue to add value to our offerings, improve catering facilities, and have the second-year benefit of an incentivized sales force.”

After reporting its earnings, Cedar Fair declared a quarterly dividend of 62.5 cents per share, payable Sept. 16 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 5.

The company’s stock closed at $43.56 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, up 34 cents.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.