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Six Flags earnings up 5 percent

Mark Shapiro, president and CEO of Six Flags said growth marks three-year turnaround

Posted: March 11, 2009 1:05 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 
Six Flags, Inc., the world's largest regional theme-park company, ended 2008 with a total revenue increase of $50.5 million, or 5 percent, compared to 2007, the company announced Tuesday.

"The three-year turnaround for Six Flags required a great deal of patience," said Mark Shapiro, president and CEO of Six Flags, Inc.

"I am proud and grateful that the efforts and commitment of our workforce - some 30,000 strong - resulted in our best year ever, putting our operations back on solid footing. The remaining challenge is the inherited balance sheet and we are in comprehensive dialogue with our lenders to remedy that issue."

Revenues increased from $970.8 million in 2007 to $1.02 billion in 2008. Attendance for the year was 25.3 million, a 2-percent increase from 2007. The company attributes the increase to increased paid admissions, partially offset by planned reductions of approximately 0.5 million in complimentary and free promotional attendance.

Total revenue per capita for the year increased $1.31, or 3 percent, to $40.30 from $38.99 in the prior year, reflecting increased per capita guest spending as well as growth in sponsorship, licensing and other fees. Increased per capita guest spending of 1 percent was driven by increased rentals, food and beverages, parking, admissions and retail revenues.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, total revenues of $118.1 million increased 5 percent over the prior-year quarter's $112.3 million, while total attendance grew 9 percent, or 0.3 million.

The attendance increase over the prior-year quarter was primarily due to strong Halloween and Christmas Holiday seasons, driven by an increased mix of season pass attendance.

Revenue growth for the fourth quarter also reflected growth in sponsorship, licensing and other fees, which increased $4.1 million over the prior-year period to $13.8 million.

Total revenue per capita decreased 4 percent to $38.04 in the fourth quarter of 2008 from $39.45 in fourth quarter of 2007.

"While the economic environment continued to tighten in the fourth quarter, our business remained resilient," Shapiro said. "Six Flags has effectively positioned itself as an affordable close-to-home entertainment destination for the entire family. With paid attendance, length of stay and in-park spending increases in 2008, it is clear that consumer confidence in our brand and the guest experience has returned."

The company will host a teleconference for analysts and investors at 6 a.m. Monday. Participants in the call will include Shapiro, and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Jeffrey R. Speed.

The teleconference will be broadcast live to all interested persons as a listen-only Web cast on http://investors.sixflags.com/. The Web cast will be archived for one year.

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