Great Escape Logdge boosts Six Flags' first quarter results

Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is a partial unedited press release. -J]

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (formerly Six Flags, Inc.) announced today its consolidated operating results for the quarter ended March 31, 2010.(1) The first quarter historically represents approximately 5% of the Company's annual revenues.

Three Month Results

Total revenue of $57.3 million increased 12% from the prior-year quarter's total of $51.1 million, primarily reflecting $4.3 million of revenues from the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park ("Lodge"), the results of which were consolidated in the first quarter of 2010 as a result of adopting new consolidation accounting rules (Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 810, Consolidation).(2) Excluding the consolidation of the Lodge, total revenues increased $1.8 million, or 4%, reflecting increases in food, merchandise and other revenues, as well as increased attendance.

Per capita guest spending, which excludes sponsorship, licensing and other fees, increased 3% to $35.44 in the first quarter of 2010 from $34.27 in the prior-year quarter, reflecting increased per capita in-park spending, partially offset by decreased season pass pricing. Included in the higher guest spending is the favorable exchange rate impact at our Mexico City park in the current-year quarter, affecting U.S. dollar translated results. Exchange rates accounted for approximately $1.02 of the guest spending per capita increase for the current quarter compared to the prior-year quarter.

Cash operating expenses(3) for the first quarter increased $6.0 million, or 5%, to $118.7 million compared to the first quarter of 2009, reflecting increased expenses primarily due to the consolidation of the Lodge, the currency impact at our Mexico City and Montreal parks and increased insurance and operating taxes, partially offset by decreased employee benefits and advertising costs. The Lodge consolidation and the currency impact at our Mexico City and Montreal parks accounted for $4.3 million of the $6.0 million increase over the prior-year period.

Non-cash operating expenses comprised of depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation and loss on disposal of assets decreased $0.1 million in the first quarter of 2010 to $37.9 million, compared with $38.0 million in the first quarter of 2009.

The Company's loss from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2010 increased by 32% to $180.7 million compared to $137.0 million in the prior-year quarter. The increase was driven by (i) increased interest expense primarily reflecting post-petition interest owed on the $400 million Senior Notes due in 2016, partially offset by reduced interest expense reflecting the cessation of interest accruals on the Company's debt subject to compromise as a result of the Chapter 11 Filing, and lower effective interest rates, (ii) reorganization costs associated with the Chapter 11 Filing, (iii) increased cash operating expenses, and (iv) increased income tax expense, partially offset by increased revenue.

Adjusted EBITDA(4) loss for the current quarter remained relatively flat at a $60.0 million loss compared to a $59.5 million loss for the prior-year quarter, reflecting the impact of increased revenues partially offset by increased cash operating expenses.

Read the entire press release on PR Newswire.

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