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06 Aug 2018

SeaWorld surges in 2018 as operator reports second successful quarter
BY Tom Anstey

SeaWorld seems to finally be turning a financial corner

SeaWorld seems to finally be turning a financial corner
photo: Shutterstock.com

SeaWorld is showing signs of recovery, after the operator reported an attendance increase of 4.8 per cent, leading to revenue increases of US$18.9m (€16.3m, £14.6m).

Attendance for the quarter rose by 300,000 people to 6.4 million visitors. This was matched by the revenue increase, which rose by 4.9 per cent to US$391.9m (€338.9m, £302.4m) in Q2.

In its second quarter last year, a non-cash goodwill impairment charge caused by a decline in the the value of SeaWorld's non-identifiable assets based on future earnings at SeaWorld Orlando, meant the operator reported net losses of US$237m (€200.6m, £181.6m). This year was a significant improvement, with net income up to US$22.7m (€19.7m, £17.6m). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) was also up 12.9 per cent to US$117.6m (€101.9m, £90.6m).

The positive results continues a trend for SeaWorld, which after several years of struggling seems to finally be turning a financial corner, following a strong start to the year with its first quarter results, which saw revenue increases of US$30.8m (€25.9m, £22.8m) compared to the same period in 2017.

In response to decline stemming from the Blackfish controversy, SeaWorld introduced cost-cutting initiatives and put a new focus on "experiences that matter". That strategy finally seems to be taking effect.

"We are pleased with our strong second quarter financial results and the continued momentum we see in the business," said John Reilly, interim SeaWorld CEO.

"The results were driven by our new strategic pricing strategies, new marketing and communications initiatives and the positive reception of our new rides, attractions and events.

"We are particularly pleased with our second quarter attendance growth, which more than offset the negative impacts from unfavorable weather across several of our markets in the quarter.

"Our keen focus on cost savings and efficiencies is also improving our margins. We have realised the remainder of the US$40m (€34.7m, £30.9m) in cost savings we expected to achieve in 2018, and have identified US$50m (€43.3m, £38.7m) of additional cost reductions. We are also actively working to find other opportunities where possible.

"While our first six months results demonstrate solid progress, we know we have significant opportunity for further improvement."



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