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Published: Friday, 5/14/2004

Return of Cedar Fair annual meeting runs short of voters

BY MARY-BETH McLAUGHLIN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Kinzel Kinzel
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SANDUSKY - Cedar Fair LP held its first shareholder meeting in seven years yesterday, but little business was conducted.

That's because the parent of Cedar Point and 11 other amusement and water parks did not get enough proxy ballots returned to meet the two-third requirement needed to make changes in how the limited partnership is run.

Cedar Fair executives said in interviews yesterday they underestimated the time needed to send out proxies and then make sure shareholders, many of whom are individuals rather than institutions that have brokers do the voting, were reminded to vote before the deadline. They have hired a firm "to beat the bushes" to insure more proxies are returned in the next month, said Richard Kinzel, chairman, president, and chief executive of the Sandusky-based company.

The voting period has been extended and a special meeting has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on June 8, at Cedar Point's Radisson Harbor Inn Hotel, to announce the results of the votes on the three proposals.

Brian Witherow, head of iteh company's nvestor relations, said 60 percent of the outstanding share units - or roughly 30 million units - had been voted, but that was not enough for the two-thirds majority needed. Of those voting, 97 percent favored the first issue which essentially calls for annual meetings and shareholders to elect the board of the general partner.

The change was suggested because the firm needs to look forward, officials said. With only three partners left in the general partnership who are still active in the company, and Mr. Kinzel has said he will retire in 2007.

Most of yesterday's hour meeting, attended by about 200, was spent on questions about the recent acquisition of Geauga Lake amusement park near Cleveland.

Cedar Fair expects that park to generate $10 million to $15 million in operating profit this year, even though attendance is projected to drop from about 1.5 million visitors to 1.2 million because the Sea World animal attraction there is no longer part of the park, Mr. Kinzel said.

The $145 million that Cedar Fair has agreed to pay will be raised through bank financing and a new shares to be available in about a month.

Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at

mmclaughlin@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199.



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