SeaWorld Entertainment posts gains in attendance and revenue

Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2019 9:52 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the release:

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2019.

First Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Attendance increased by 0.1 million guests, or 3.6%, to 3.3 million guests from the first quarter of 2018.
  • Total revenue increased by $3.4 million, or 1.6%, to $220.6 million from the first quarter of 2018.
  • Net loss was $37.0 million, compared to a net loss of $62.8 million in the first quarter of 2018. Net loss for the first quarter of 2019 includes approximately $2.6 million of separation-related costs, as discussed further below. Net loss for the first quarter of 2018 includes approximately $21.5 million of certain pre-tax expenses, as discussed further below.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $16.4 million, an improvement of $14.1 million, over the first quarter of 2018.

"We are pleased with our first quarter results that exceeded the prior year quarter. Increased attendance and revenue growth and the realization and flow through of cost savings are demonstrating improved operating leverage," said Gus Antorcha, Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "Attendance and revenue primarily benefitted from increased demand and increased in park spending which was partially offset by impacts from unfavorable weather in some of our parks and the shift in the timing of Easter and school spring break in some of our markets from the first quarter to the second quarter. Our improved results reflect our focus on improved marketing and communications initiatives, new pricing strategies, and the favorable guest reception to our new rides and compelling attractions and events. Our results also reflect the impact of our successful and ongoing efforts to reduce costs. Despite this solid start to the year, we know we still have significant opportunity for further improvement."

"We are excited about our rides, attractions and events coming to our parks," continued Antorcha. "This year, we believe we have one of the best lineups we have ever had. In March, we opened Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando and Ihu's Breakaway Falls at Aquatica San Antonio. Since the end of the first quarter, we opened KareKare Curl at Aquatica Orlando, Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Turtle Reef, Sea Swinger and Riptide Rescue at SeaWorld San Antonio, Finnegans's Flyer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and an all-new Sesame Street Neighborhood at Sesame Place. Later this month, we will open Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego and Cutback Water Coaster at Water Country USA. We are pleased to report that all of our new rides and attractions will open before the start of the peak summer season. Additionally, this summer we have our one-of-a-kind Sesame Parade returning to San Diego and San Antonio, our award winning Electric Ocean event returning to each of our SeaWorld parks and our Summer Nights event returning to each of our Busch Gardens parks."

First Quarter 2019 Results

In the first quarter of 2019, the Company hosted approximately 3.3 million guests, generated total revenues of $220.6 million, incurred a net loss of $37.0 million and reported Adjusted EBITDA of $16.4 million. Net loss includes approximately $2.6 million of pre-tax expenses associated with separation-related costs. Net loss in the first quarter of 2018 includes approximately $21.5 million of pre-tax expenses associated with separation-related costs and a legal settlement accrual recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

The Company believes the attendance increase resulted from increased demand due to a combination of factors including improved marketing and communication initiatives, new pricing strategies, and the positive reception of its new rides and compelling attractions and events. Attendance was negatively impacted in the quarter by a combination of unfavorable weather at some of its parks and the later timing of Easter and spring break for a number of schools from the Company's key markets. These negative impacts on attendance were partially offset by an extra weekend day in March and the timing of school holiday break schedules in early January.

Total revenue was positively impacted by the increase in attendance and improved in-park per capita spending (defined as food, merchandise and other revenue divided by total attendance) partially offset by lower admission per capita (defined as admissions revenue divided by total attendance). The decline in admission per capita primarily results from the continued implementation of new pricing strategies and visitation mix, primarily related to the shift of Easter and spring break into the second quarter and increased season pass mix during the quarter. The Easter and spring break shift decreased the percentage of tourist visitation during the quarter, which generally comes with higher admissions per capita. The increased season pass mix generally drives higher total revenue, but lower admissions per capita. Adjusted EBITDA was positively impacted by an increase in total revenue and the realization of cost savings initiatives.

Read the entire press release on PR Newswire.

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