Cedar Fair LP said that the addition of an extra week in the second quarter because of a quirk in the fiscal calendar, plus rising spending per guest at its amusement and water parks, enabled it to post a second-quarter profit Thursday of $36.3 million, or 65 cents a share.
For the same period a year ago the company had a profit of $4.3 million, or 8 cents a share.
The Sandusky-based company, which owns Cedar Point, 10 other amusement parks, and seven water parks, also reported record second-quarter revenues of $357.6 million, up 26 percent from a year ago when revenues totaled $284.5 million.
Cedar Fair was quick to point out that the fiscal calendar gave it 14 weeks (or 106 additional operating days when combining revenues from all its parks) in the second quarter versus 13 weeks in fiscal 2011. But even allowing for the addition, Cedar Fair's revenues and profits rose significantly.
On a comparative 14-week basis for the 2012 and 2011 second quarters, Cedar Fair revenues this year would have been up $19 million, or about 6 percent, instead of the actual $73.1 million.
Cedar Fair said that during the quarter it registered a 4 percent increase in average in-park guest per capita spending, and a 2 percent increase in out-of-park revenues.
In a conference call with analysts shortly after releasing its earnings Thursday, Cedar Fair Chief Executive Officer Matt Ouimet said part of the company's quarterly success was a result of the success of new initiatives dubbed FunForward, a reference to the company's stock ticker symbol, FUN.
"Our FunForward plan is on track," Mr. Ouimet said, largely because of a revamped "e-commerce" system that lets Cedar Fair parks sell more tickets, season passes, and other premium items online.
The company's season pass sales are up 13 percent in terms of passes sold, and up 20 percent in revenues, he said. Part of that success is from the creation of a new "installment" plan for season passes that allows customers to divide the cost into smaller payments.
Mr. Ouimet said "Fast Lane" premium tickets, which allow customers to move to the front of the line on popular rides, also have been a big hit and contributor to revenue growth.
"We're very happy with the traction we've been getting on our initiatives. They're all ramping up at a different pace," Mr. Ouimet said. "Fast Lane seems to be quicker than most. But all are at expectations or exceeding expectations at this point."
The company reaffirmed its previous earnings guidance that its full-year revenues will end up between $1.05 billion and $1.07 billion, and also said it remains on track to pay a record dividend in 2013 of more than $2 a share.
Cedar Fair also declared a quarterly cash dividend on Thursday of 40 cents a share, payable Sept. 17 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 5.
The company's stock, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $32.13 a share Thursday, down 17 cents.
Contact Jon Chavez at: email@example.com or 419-724-6128.