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Published: Friday, 11/8/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Cedar Fair announces 3Q profits soared 35%

Attendance, per-visitor spending both increase

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Riders enjoy the Maverick roller coaster at Cedar Point amusement park. Cedar Point's parent company, Cedar Fair, is reporting record third-quarter profits. Riders enjoy the Maverick roller coaster at Cedar Point amusement park. Cedar Point's parent company, Cedar Fair, is reporting record third-quarter profits.
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SANDUSKY — Higher attendance, visitors spending more money in its parks, and additional bookings at its hotel properties propelled Cedar Fair LP to record third-quarter revenues, and the company said Thursday that its quarterly profits rose 35 percent in the quarter compared with the same three-month period in 2012.

The Sandusky-based amusement park chain and parent company of Cedar Point reported third quarter revenues of $592.1 million, up 7 percent from $553.5 million a year ago.

Cedar Fair said its profits totaled $190.4 million, or $3.41 per share, compared with $141 million, or $2.52 a share, a year ago.

“We are pleased with our record results to date, particularly since the growth comes from a combination of increased attendance, average in-park guest per capita spending, and accommodations revenue,” company President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Ouimet said in a statement.

Mr. Ouimet said Cedar Fair, which owns 11 amusement parks, four water parks, and five hotels, saw its third-quarter attendance increase 2 percent, or by about 207,000 visits. Average in-park spending by customers, which includes the price of admission, was up 7 percent to $45.73, while out-of-park spending (revenue from its hotels) increased by $58.7 million.

The company’s shares, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $46.73 Thursday, up $1.26. That’s the highest closing price ever for the stock, which was trading for less than $7 a share in 2009.

After Labor Day, Cedar Fair’s nine non-California parks are closed on weekdays and operate Halloween events on weekends through the end of October.

Based on results through Nov. 3, Cedar Fair said its net revenues for the year were $1.1 billion, up 6 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Its attendance through October was up 2 percent, its average in-park guest spending was up 6 percent, and its out-of-park revenues were up 7 percent.

The consensus of Wall Street analysts earlier was that Cedar Fair’s full-year revenues would come in around $1.12 billion.

But the company said Thursday that it now expects its revenues to fall between $1.125 billion and $1.135 billion.

Mr. Ouimet said the company’s 2014 capital improvements will include a new inverted roller coaster at Kings Island, near Cincinnati, and a new ride — Guardian of Wonder Mountain — at Canada’s Wonderland, near Toronto, that combines a roller coaster track with an interactive gaming system.

Cedar Fair announced a cash dividend of 70 cents per share on Thursday, payable Dec. 16 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 4.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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