News Column

Attendance, stays at hotels generate Cedar Fair profits

February 21, 2014

By Jon Chavez, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio



Feb. 21--SANDUSKY -- Aided by rising attendance, guest spending, and stays at its hotels, Cedar Fair LP said Thursday that it had record 2013 revenues of $1.14 billion, a 6 percent increase over the record $1.07 billion in revenue it had in 2012.

"We are pleased to report 2013 was a remarkable year for Cedar Fair, and we expect this momentum to continue into 2014," said Matt Ouimet, company president and chief executive officer.

"Our long-term ... strategy is working well as we experienced solid increases across all aspects of our business this year, including record attendance and in-park guest per capita spending," he added.

The amusement park chain and parent firm of Sandusky'sCedar Point had net profits last year of $108.2 million, or $1.94 per share, up 6 percent from $101.9 million, or $1.82 per share, in 2012.

For the fourth quarter, Cedar Fair had a loss of $20.5 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenues of $139 million. That compared with the same period in 2012 when it had a loss of $10.3 million, or 19 cents a share, on revenues of $129.2 million.

The company typically loses money in the fourth quarter because only one of its 11 parks, Knott's Berry Farm in Los Angeles, remains open after Halloween.

In trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, Cedar Fair's shares rose 24 cents to close at $52.79 a share.

Cedar Fair said that its record revenues in 2013 were attributable to a 5 percent rise in spending -- to an average of $44.15 from a previous $41.95 -- by visitors at the Sandusky firm's 11 amusement parks and four water parks. That figure does not include the price of admission.

The company also was helped by a 1 percent rise in attendance to a record 23.5 million guests, and a 6 percent rise in out-of-park spending (mainly at the company's five hotels) to $124.2 million from a previous $116.8 million.

The company also said it benefited from a decrease in the costs of goods it sells, mainly food and beverages, to $91.8 million from a previous $95 million. Cedar Fair said its operating expenses increased 5 percent to $472.3 million, and its administrative expenses rose 10 percent to $152.4 million in 2013, but both were because of the company's parks hosting record attendance.

"Our focus on continually enhancing the guest experience has been the unifying theme of our long-term strategy. In 2013, guests responded favorably to all of our investments in new world-class rides, family entertainment, and premium guest experiences," Mr. Ouimet said. "For example, GateKeeper, a record-breaking winged coaster at Cedar Point, experienced one of the best ride openings in the park's history, while the new Boardwalk area at Knott's Berry Farm in southern California brought more families to the park than ever before. We are also seeing a great response to our expanded water park offerings, most notably at Worlds of Fun [in Kansas City] which experienced record results as well."

For 2014, Cedar Fair said it plans to spend $145 million across its properties, including a $24 million "inverted" roller coaster named Banshee at its Kings Island park near Cincinnati. Cedar Fair also plans to build an interactive 4-D "dark ride" called Wonder Mountain's Guardian at its Canada's Wonderland park in Toronto.

A 4-D ride features 3-D images and the ability of customers to "shoot" at the images.

Contact Jon Chavez at: or 419-724-6128.

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(c)2014 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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Source: Blade (Toledo, OH)


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