Cedar Fair has record year, net revenue up 7%

Posted Thursday, February 18, 2016 10:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

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

Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today reported record financial results for the year ended December 31, 2015.

Highlights

  • The Company reported record full-year net revenues of $1.24 billion, up 7% from 2014; net income of $112 million, or $1.99 per diluted limited partner (LP) unit, was up $8 million from a year ago.
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the full year was a record $459 million, up approximately 7% from last year.
  • Attendance at Cedar Fair's parks was a record 24.4 million guests, a 1.1 million-visit, or 5%, increase from 2014.
  • The renovation of the historic Hotel Breakers along Cedar Point's mile-long beach was a significant contributor to the Company's $11 million, or 8%, increase in out-of-park revenues to a record $138 million.
  • The Company remains confident in the strength of its strategy and business model and now expects to achieve its FUNforward 2.0 long-term growth goal of $500 million, or more, in Adjusted EBITDA earlier than its original target of 2018.

Commenting on the Company's year-end results for 2015, Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer said, "We produced another outstanding year with solid increases across the board in attendance, guest spending and out-of-park revenues. We firmly believe our commitment to creating a compelling entertainment experience for the whole family has led us to our sixth consecutive year of record results and we fully expect this trend to continue into 2016."

Revenues were very strong across the Company's parks this past year, with increases at Carowinds, Knott's Berry Farm and Cedar Point leading the way. Significant attendance increases in both season pass and advance sales categories, combined with increases in average guest per capita spending across all major categories, contributed to the Company's broad ranging success.

"While 2015 was a remarkable year for Cedar Fair, our attention is now turned to 2016 where we expect these record trends to continue," said Ouimet. "Over the next several months we have many exciting initiatives coming online, including: Valravn, a world-record-breaking roller coaster at Cedar Point; Carolina Harbor, a newly branded and expanded water park at Carowinds; Ghost Town Alive! an interactive guest experience at Knott's Berry Farm; the introduction of WinterFest at California's Great America; and FunPix, our new digital imaging platform which will be introduced at five parks in 2016.

"We have a solid foundation which we can continue to build upon. Our strong and loyal season pass base continues to grow, our incentivized sales teams continue to identify new prospects, and our CRM platform is now populated with historical data allowing us to communicate more effectively with guests who have committed to a visit and identify prospective guests more efficiently. We remain focused on creating long-term value for our unitholders through distribution increases and deploying capital back into our business. This balanced approach is what has generated strong returns for our unitholders in the past and what we believe will produce attractive returns in the future," concluded Ouimet.

2015 Full-Year Results

For the full year ended December 31, 2015, Cedar Fair generated record net revenues of $1.24 billion and net income of $112 million, or $1.99 per diluted LP unit, compared with net revenues of $1.16 billion and net income of $104 million, or $1.86 per diluted LP unit, in 2014.

Driving the $76 million, or 7%, increase in net revenues was a 5%, or 1.1 million-visit, increase in attendance to a record 24.4 million visits, a 1%, or $0.66, increase in average in-park guest per capita spending to a record $46.20 and an 8%, or $11 million, increase in out-of-park revenues to a record $138 million.

Operating costs and expenses for 2015 totaled $794 million, up $46 million, or 6%, from the prior year. The increase in costs for the year was largely attributable to the parks entertaining a record number of guests in 2015. Also contributing to the increase were higher labor and maintenance costs as the Company continued to invest in its employees and its infrastructure and higher incentive compensation due to the strong current year performance. As a percentage of sales, operating costs and expenses were comparable with the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA, which management believes is a meaningful measure of the Company's park-level operating results, increased 7%, or $28 million, to $459 million, compared with $431 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA margin improvement was driven by a significant lift in attendance, the continued growth of premium product offerings such as FastLane and the introduction of All-Season Dining across all of the Company's parks. These factors were offset by negative foreign currency translation and incremental investments to support the overall guest experience, making Adjusted EBITDA margin, as reported, comparable with last year. See the attached table for a reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA.

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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