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23 Oct 2019

Six Flags chases another record year as promotions help increase membership numbers
BY Andy Knaggs

Theme park operator Six Flags has released results for the first three quarters of 2019

Theme park operator Six Flags has released results for the first three quarters of 2019
photo: Shutterstock

Theme park operator Six Flags is targeting its tenth consecutive year of growth, despite a mixed bag of September year-to-date results that included increased attendance, but reduced guest spending per capita.

Fourteen million guests visited a Six Flags theme park in Q3 2019, which was a growth of 3 per cent, or 440,000 people, compared to the same period in 2018. This drove a US$1m (€900,000, £780,000) increase in revenue over the like-for-like periods, reaching US$621m (€558.8m, £482.4m) for the quarter in 2019.

However, the company said that guest spending per capita decreased by 1 per cent, while it expected to field a 26 per cent decrease in sponsorship, international agreements and accommodation revenue.

Owing primarily to a change in state tax law that gave it a benefit in 2018, Six Flags net income for Q3 2019 was down by US$5m (€4.5m, £3.9m), or 2 per cent, on the prior year period. The company reported that its Adjusted EBITDA increased by US$547,000 (€492,000, £425,000) for the period, to a record US$307m (€276m, £239m).

There were several reasons for the reduced per capita spending, according to Six Flags. It said there was a higher proportion of visitors using its Active Pass Base (and were therefore enrolled in its membership programme or have a season pass); Active Pass Base has increased by 2 per cent year-over-year.

There were also targeted promotions to drive membership penetration, and there were attendance gains at Six Flags new parks, which have significantly lower admission prices than its longer-standing parks. Finally, a portion of new membership revenue is deferred to the following year because the 12-month commitment period spans the calendar year end.

In total, attendance figures for the first nine months of 2019 rose to 26.7m people, which is almost a million more than in the same period in 2018. Revenue for the nine months was US$1.2bn (€1.08bn, £930m) ‒ up 3 per cent ‒ with net income (again, affected by the change in state tax law) down by 3 per cent, and Adjusted EBITDA at US$455m (€410m, £354m) for the nine month period.

"We were pleased to achieve record attendance and revenue for the first nine months of 2019, with solid growth across both our legacy and newly acquired parks," said chairman, president and CEO Jim Reid-Anderson. "As a team, we are laser focused on achieving our tenth consecutive record year by driving our strategic growth areas, including growing penetration of our membership programmes to benefit from the enhanced loyalty and lifetime value of members."



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