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Cedar Fair announces $5.7 million profit, higher revenues for last year

SANDUSKY Cedar Fair LP said Thursday that it returned to the black financially in 2008, earning a profit of $5.7 million, or 10 cents per partnership unit.

The amusement and water park operator, based in Sandusky, lost $4.5 million, or 8 cents per unit, in 2007 after incurring expenses to shut down its Geauga Lake amusement park near Cleveland.

Cedar Fair s operations went more smoothly last year, with overall revenues increasing 1 percent to $996 million. Attendance at its 11 amusement parks and seven water parks rose 3 percent to 22.7 million visitors.

Performance was led by its Canada s Wonderland park in Toronto, whose attendance was up 8 percent due to the arrival of a new $20 million roller coaster, the Behemoth.

Attendance and operating performances were mixed at Cedar Fair s other parks, although it did not specify each one, including at its Cedar Point park in Sandusky.

For the fourth quarter last year, the company had a loss of $56.7 million, or $1.02 per unit, which compared to a $9 million loss, or 7 cents per unit, for the same period a year earlier.

The company said the fourth quarter loss included a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $87 million relating to its 2006 acquisition of six amusement parks owned by Paramount Parks. Revenues for the fourth quarter rose 3.5 percent to $119 million from $115 million in the same period a year earlier.

Chief Executive Dick Kinzel told industry analysts that the firm s dividend would not be cut, as company officials last month said might happen. It pays $1.92 a share per year.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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