Cedar Fair posts record results for 2013

Posted Thursday, February 20, 2014 8:47 AM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, reported record financial results for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Highlights

  • The Company reported record full-year net revenues of $1.135 billion, up 6% from 2012, reflecting strong growth in all aspects of its business; net income of $108.2 million, or $1.94 per diluted limited partner (LP) unit, was up $6.3 million from a year ago.
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the full year was a record $425.4 million, up 9% from last year on a 5% increase in average in-park guest per capita spending, a 2% increase in comparable park attendance and a 6% increase in out-of-park revenues.
  • The Company reduced its Consolidated Leverage ratio to 3.6 times debt to Adjusted EBITDA, down from 3.9 times in 2012.
  • The Company remains confident in its ability to achieve its FUNforward long-term growth goal of $450 million in Adjusted EBITDA earlier than its original target of 2016.

Commenting on the results for 2013, Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased to report 2013 was a remarkable year for Cedar Fair and we expect this momentum to continue into 2014. Our long-term FUNforward strategy is working well as we experienced solid increases across all aspects of our business this year, including record attendance and in-park guest per capita spending."

Ouimet added, "Our focus on continually enhancing the guest experience has been the unifying theme of our long-term strategy. In 2013, guests responded favorably to all of our investments in new world-class rides, family entertainment and premium guest experiences. For example, GateKeeper, a record-breaking winged coaster at Cedar Point, experienced one of the best ride openings in the park's history, while the new Boardwalk area at Knott's Berry Farm in southern California brought more families to the park than ever before. We are also seeing a great response to our expanded water park offerings, most notably at World's of Fun which experienced record results as well.

"For 2014, our teams are working harder than ever to find new ways to surprise our guests as they walk through our gates," continued Ouimet. "Our capital projects are currently scheduled to open on time and on budget, including Banshee, our record-breaking roller coaster at Kings Island, and Wonder Mountain's Guardian, our interactive 4-D dark ride at Canada's Wonderland. After this cold and snowy winter, our guests will be ready to get out of the house to enjoy some nice warm summer days on our midways with their friends and family. We are looking forward to providing even more thrills, screams and smiles as we kickoff the 2014 season."

Ouimet concluded by stating, "I am pleased with our current financial condition, including our liquidity and cash flow performance. At the end of the year, our Consolidated Leverage ratio was 3.6 times, which is down from 4.2 times as recently as two years ago. As we look ahead, we expect 2014 to be another record year in terms of net revenues and Adjusted EBITDA, and we are confident we will continue to build on our decades of success for many years to come."

2013 Full-Year Results

For the full year ended December 31, 2013, Cedar Fair generated record net revenues of $1.135 billion and net income of $108.2 million, or $1.94 per diluted LP unit, compared with net revenues of $1.068 billion and net income of $101.9 million, or $1.82 per diluted LP unit, in 2012.

Contributing to the $66.1 million, or 6.2%, increase in net revenues for 2013, average in-park guest per capita spending rose 5%, or $2.20, to $44.15; attendance increased by 1%, or 219,000 visits, to 23.5 million guests; and out-of-park revenues improved 6%, or $7.4 million, to $124.2 million. Excluding two non-core stand- alone water parks that were sold in November 2012 and August 2013, attendance on a comparable park basis increased 2%, or 453,000 visits.

Cost of goods sold decreased to $91.8 million due to savings initiatives in the Company's food and beverage programs, while operating expenses increased to $472.3 million and selling, general and administrative expenses increased to $152.4 million. The increase in these costs and expenses was largely attributable to the parks entertaining a record number of guests in 2013. Also contributing to these increases were higher staffing levels to support additional revenue growth initiatives, investments in new revenue and customer relationship management platforms, higher normal operating and maintenance expenses associated with enhancing park infrastructures, and higher incentive compensation due to the strong current-year performance. As a percentage of sales, these costs decreased 90 basis points to 63.2% in 2013, from 64.1% in 2012.

Adjusted EBITDA, which management believes is a meaningful measure of the Company's park-level operating results, increased 8.8%, or $34.5 million, to $425.4 million, compared with $391.0 million last year. At the same time, Adjusted EBITDA margin improved 90 basis points, increasing to 37.5%, from 36.6% a year ago. The strong increases in Adjusted EBITDA and the Adjusted EBITDA margin are the result of record net revenues combined with strict controls over costs. See the attached table for a reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA.

Cash Flow and Liquidity Remain Strong

Brian Witherow, Cedar Fair's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, "Our liquidity and cash flow remain strong. With our record 2013 performance, combined with the sale of two non-core assets and the first-quarter refinancing of a large portion of our debt, we continue to improve our capital structure and operating flexibility. We intend to maintain our strong financial position for 2014 and beyond as we continue to manage our cash flows and capital structure, creating value for unitholders over the long-term."

As of December 31, 2013, Cedar Fair had $618.9 million of variable-rate debt (before giving consideration to fixed-rate interest rate swaps), $901.8 million of fixed-rate debt, no outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facilities and cash on hand of $118.1 million. The Company's credit facilities and cash flows from operations are expected to be sufficient to meet working capital needs, debt service, planned capital expenditures and distributions for the foreseeable future.

Outlook

The Company's capital program is designed to drive positive results in both the short- and long-term. For the 2014 season, the Company plans to invest approximately $145 million in capital across its properties. The highlight of the 2014 capital program is Banshee, the world's longest inverted steel coaster, which will make its debut at Kings Island, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, Cedar Fair will introduce the first edition of its "Amusement Dark" portfolio, Wonder Mountain's Guardian at Canada's Wonderland, which is an interactive 4-D dark ride featuring the world's longest interactive screen. Marketable capital for 2014 will also feature a complete revival of the Camp Snoopy area at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, a major waterpark expansion at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania and a refreshment of the Gemini Midway, including several new family-oriented attractions at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. For the 2014 season, resort guests at Cedar Point will experience a new outside look at the historic Hotel Breakers as the first phase in the property's two year renovation is completed. The Company also plans to introduce new cabin accommodations at two of its properties and will launch a new company-wide in-park TV network, allowing further interaction with its guests.

Ouimet concluded, "While it is still too early to identify a trend, we are pleased to see both season pass and group business sales pacing ahead of where they were this time last year. With this in mind, we are confident in our ability to achieve our FUNforward long-term growth goal of $450 million in Adjusted EBITDA earlier than our original target of 2016."

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:27 AM

I'm having difficulty believing these figures. They haven't even added a coaster to Michigan's Adventure, for crying out loud.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:35 AM

Per caps up 5%, attendence up 2%. I always want to see the individual park stats to see which ones are responsible the most for these numbers.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:35 AM

The transformation at the company has been nothing short of amazing.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014 4:23 PM

And that shows. I'm excited for new slides at Carowinds this year and look forward to the record breaker they're building for next year.

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