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Six Flags reports first-quarter losses

Park official says services remain unaffected by corporate struggles

Posted: May 8, 2009 9:32 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
While Six Flags' first-quarter earnings dropped $16.3 million and the company's stock remains in the 35-cent range, Magic Mountain is doing just fine, a park official said Friday.

"We're open and we're strong," Magic Mountain spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said Friday. "We're happy with the direction that we're going."

Six Flags, Inc. announced Friday its first-quarter revenue - historically about 5 percent of the company's annual earnings - dropped $16 million to $52 million.

That number reflects a 24-percent drop from the first quarter of 2008.

Six Flags was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange last month after the company continued to hold too high a debt load on its balance sheet to continue trading.

On Friday, the over-the-counter bulletin board price for Six Flags stock was 36 cents.

The question remains: Are things going to turn around for the beleaguered company?

"Yes. But getting from here to there is going to be somewhat difficult," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "Right now a lot of people are questioning their financial viability. The next 12 months will be tough."
Carpenter said Six Flags' financial travails have not trickled down to Magic Mountain.

"They're responsible for the numbers. We're responsible for the fun," she said. "Our guests will see zero impact."

Proof of the park's strength, she said, is this month's opening of the $10 million Terminator: Salvation roller coaster.

Magic Mountain is the only Southern California theme park opening a new ride this year, she said.

Additionally, Carpenter said plans are already in the works to celebrate Six Flags' 50th anniversary in 2011.

She said the park is coming off a "very good spring break," and gearing up for a busy summer season.

Magic Mountain has also seen an increase in job applications this year, Carpenter said.

"We're guessing a lot are from second-wage earners," she said, referring to the effects of the recession.

At its summer peak, Magic Mountain employs more than 3,000 people, she said, making it one of the Santa Clarita Valley's largest employers.

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