Cedar Fair has record third quarter, ups distribution by 10%

Posted Thursday, November 5, 2015 9:07 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today reported record results for its third quarter ended September 27, 2015 and announced a 10% increase in its quarterly cash distribution.


  • Cedar Fair reported record net revenues of $645 million in the third quarter.  The 8% increase over last year's third-quarter results reflects the Company's continued success in increasing attendance and average in-park guest per capita spending across all major categories.
  • Net revenues through November 1, 2015, were up 7%, driven by a 5% increase in attendance, a 2% increase in average in-park guest per capita spending1 and a 10% increase in out-of-park revenues, including resort accommodations.
  • Cedar Fair's Board of Directors declared a 10% increase in the Company's quarterly cash distribution to $0.825 per limited partner (LP) unit, payable December 15, 2015.
  • Cedar Fair remains confident in its long-term business strategy and its ability to generate $500 million, or more, in Adjusted EBITDA by 2018.

"I am pleased to say that our year-to-date results have propelled us well on our way to making 2015 the best year in Cedar Fair's history," said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer.  "Our strategy to create and expand our seasonal offers and events has helped drive more visits and incremental spending by guests in 2015.  The success of this strategy, combined with our innovative capital program, has led to strong results across the portfolio this year."

"We have experienced significant attendance increases in both season pass and advance sales categories while maintaining strong front gate and group sales attendance," continued Ouimet.  "We've also experienced average in-park guest per capita spending increases across all major categories, including admissions, food and beverage, merchandise and premium offerings.  We credit this broad success to the fulfillment of our objective to make every park a place to be for FUN, not just a place to ride rides.  This expands our audience, increases length-of-stay and has a direct impact on our guests' intent to continue returning to our parks."

Ouimet added, "The quality of our business model and focus of our team has never been stronger.  Based on our current year performance, our positive outlook and our strong balance sheet, our Board has declared a 10% increase in our 2015 fourth-quarter cash distribution.  This reflects the Board's confidence that our cash flow is more than sufficient to maintain this distribution amount into 2016 and beyond, while we continue to strategically invest in our business to support long-term growth."

Third-Quarter Results

Cedar Fair's net revenues increased to a record $645 million for the third quarter, up from $595 million in the third quarter a year ago.  Net income for the quarter was $164 million, or $2.92 per diluted LP unit, compared with $162 million, or $2.90 per diluted LP unit, during the same period last year.

The increase in revenues for the quarter was the result of an increase in attendance of 6%, or 697,000 visits, an increase in average in-park guest per capita spending of 2%, or $0.91, and an increase in out-of-park revenues, including resort accommodations, of 11%, or $7 million.

The Company attributes the increase in attendance to its strong capital program, including the introduction of Fury 325, a world-record-breaking roller coaster at Carowinds, and the expansion of multi-week special events, including Bands, Brews and BBQs.  Guest spending has also been strong across all major categories, including admissions, food and beverage, merchandise and premium offerings.

Third-quarter operating costs and expenses of $302 million increased $19 million compared with the third quarter of 2014.  The increase in operating costs is consistent with the 6% lift in attendance in the period and was primarily attributable to higher labor and maintenance costs as the Company continued to invest in its employees and its infrastructure.  However, as a percentage of net revenues, costs and expenses decreased 61 basis points.

Adjusted EBITDA, which management believes is a meaningful measure of the Company's park-level operating results, increased $30 million, or 10%, to a record $346 million for the third quarter when compared with the same period last year.  The increase in Adjusted EBITDA is attributable to strong revenue growth and the Company's ongoing focus on cost control while continuing to invest in enhancing the overall guest experience.

Nine-Month Results

Net revenues were $1.1 billion for the nine months ended September 27, 2015, an increase of $70 million, or 7%, compared with the nine-month period ended September 28, 2014.  Net income was $138 million, or $2.46 per diluted LP unit, compared with net income of $122 million, or $2.19 per diluted LP unit, for the first nine months of 2014.

The increase in revenues was the result of a 5%, or 917,000-visit, increase in attendance, a 2%, or $0.89, increase in average in-park guest per capita spending, and an 11%, or $11 million, increase in out-of-park revenues.

Adjusted EBITDA for the first nine months increased 9%, or $35 million, to a record $429 million when compared with the same period a year ago.

Momentum Continues Through October

Based on preliminary results, net revenues through November 1, 2015, were approximately $1.2 billion, up 7%, or $74 million, compared with $1.1 billion for the same period last year.  The increase was the result of an approximate 5%, or 1.0 million-visit, increase in attendance to a record 23.6 million visits, a 2%, or $0.71, increase in average in-park guest per capita spending to a record $46.28 and a 10%, or $12 million, increase in out-of-park revenues to a record $127 million compared with 2014.

"What differentiates our parks from other family fun is an intensity and an immersiveness that cannot be matched elsewhere," said Ouimet.  "Our premier Halloween events are good examples of this and they are the strongest contributors to our October performance."

Distribution Declaration

Today, the Company also announced the declaration of a cash distribution of $0.825 per LP unit.  The distribution represents an increase of 10% and will be paid on December 15, 2015, to unitholders of record as of December 3, 2015.


"We are proud of the successes we have achieved over the past few years," said Ouimet.  "In 2015, we have benefited not only from our current-year initiatives, but also from the continued returns on our programs and investments of the past several years.  These include investments in our people, in the guest experience and our commitment to the growth potential of all of our parks.  While we have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, we believe there is still considerable upside in front of us."

"For 2016, we will have our most innovative lineup of new rides and attractions," continued Ouimet.  "Cedar Point, the 'Roller Coaster Capital of the World,' will introduce Valravn, a world-record-breaking roller coaster.  It will be the park's 18th roller coaster and will shatter 10 world records, including tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster.  We will also continue our aggressive investment in Carowinds, where we will expand and rebrand its water park to Carolina Harbor, the Carolinas' largest water park.  In addition, we have partnered with Electronic Arts to introduce two new digital attractions next season -- a new inter-active digital experience at Carowinds that will be based around the popular Plants vs. Zombies online gaming platform, and an all-new 4D holographic experience at California's Great America based on the Mass Effect video game series.

"The success of our 2015 operating season also provides us the financial flexibility to activate additional initiatives within our long-term growth strategy," said Ouimet. "Next year, we will roll out a new digital imaging program, FunPix, along with free wi-fi, at our five largest properties; we will expand the testing and implementation of our new mobile application programs; we will look to expand our operating season through additional multi-week special events; and we will continue testing a new virtual reality experience on a roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland in partnership with VR Coaster and Mack."

Ouimet concluded by stating, "I am proud of our team and their unwavering commitment to the guest experience at our world-class properties.  We remain committed to strategically deploying capital to generate the highest returns for our unitholders in both the short- and long-term.  We maintain our positive outlook and believe we are on track to achieve our long-term FUNforward 2.0 target of $500 million or more, in Adjusted EBITDA by 2018."

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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