Six Flags sees increase in revenue, but drops stock-based compensation awards on improbable goal achievement

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, today announced that for the quarter ended June 30, 2017, revenue increased $15 million or 4 percent, as compared to the same period in 2016, to $422 million. This was primarily driven by a 5 percent increase in attendance to 9.5 million guests and an 18 percent increase in sponsorship and international licensing revenue, partially offset by a 2 percent decline in guest spending per capita. Adjusting for the approximately 380,000 guest visits that shifted from the first quarter to the second quarter due to the timing of Easter, second quarter 2017 attendance grew 1 percent. Rainy weather on the East Coast and in Texas negatively impacted attendance in the second quarter, particularly attendance associated with one-day ticket sales, with the resulting higher mix of season pass visitation dampening guest spending per capita.

Net income decreased $9 million or 15 percent and diluted earnings per share decreased 8 percent to $0.59 for the quarter, primarily due to a $37 million charge related to the early retirement of debt in April 2017 when the company issued new senior notes and used the proceeds to redeem then-outstanding senior notes. Adjusted EBITDA1 in the second quarter increased $11 million or 7 percent to $166 million.

The softer-than-anticipated financial performance through the first six months of the year makes achieving the Project 600 goal more challenging and, in accordance with accounting standards, full achievement of the 2017 Performance Award is no longer deemed probable. Therefore, in the second quarter, the company reversed $28 million of stock-based compensation expense reflecting an expected partial achievement in 2017 of the Project 600 Performance Award. This reversal partially offset the loss on debt extinguishment described above.

“We are the leading regional theme park company in the world operating in a very attractive industry with significant opportunity for organic growth,” said Jim Reid-Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO. “We have the best team in the theme park space, and I am confident that 2017 will be another record year for our shareholders as we deliver higher ticket yields, improved in-park revenue, attractive international licensing deals, new waterparks, and strong execution.”

Total guest spending per capita for the second quarter was $41.67, which was a decrease of $0.87 or 2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2016, as ticket price gains were more than offset by a higher mix of season pass holder attendance. Admissions per capita decreased 2 percent to $23.36 and in-park spending per capita decreased 2 percent to $18.31.

For the first six months of 2017 revenue was $522 million, a slight decline versus the prior year period, driven primarily by a 2 percent decrease in guest spending per capita, partially offset by a 2 percent increase in attendance and a 7 percent increase in sponsorship and international licensing revenue. On a constant currency2 basis, revenue for the first six months of 2017 increased $2 million. The company had a net loss for the first six months of $6 million and loss per share of $0.06 as compared to earnings per share of $0.15 for the same period in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA of $131 million was down slightly versus prior year but flat on a constant currency basis.

Attendance for the first six months of 2017 grew 2 percent to 11.4 million guests while guest spending per capita decreased 2 percent to $42.10, with admissions per capita and in-park spending per capita both decreasing 2 percent to $24.03 and $18.07, respectively.

The company’s continued success in upselling guests to season passes and memberships resulted in a 12 percent year-over-year increase in its Active Pass Base, which represents the total number of guests who have a season pass or who are enrolled in the company’s membership program. Deferred revenue of $195 million increased by $21 million or 12 percent over June 30, 2016, primarily due to incremental sales of season passes, memberships and all-season dining passes.

In the first half of 2017, the company invested $97 million in new capital projects, paid $113 million in dividends, or $0.64 per common share per quarter, and repurchased $379 million of its common stock. The authorized share repurchase amount available as of June 30, 2017, was $463 million. Net Debt3 as of June 30, 2017, calculated as total reported debt of $2,048 million less cash and cash equivalents of $68 million, was $1,980 million, representing a 3.9 times net leverage ratio.

Read the entire press release on Business Wire.

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