Will SeaWorld Ride Alongside Disney, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags?


Regional amusement park operator Cedar Fair saw its units rise 3% yesterday -- bucking the market's downward bent -- after the company posted blowout quarterly results. Net revenue climbed 7% in its seasonally potent summer quarter, with attendance levels, in-park spending, and out-of-park revenue all inching higher. Cedar Fair's a lock to deliver its fourth consecutive year of record results, and the operator of Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, and other regional thrill havens boosted its quarterly distributions by 12%.

A few hours after Cedar Fair's encouraging results, Disney served up fresh financials of its own. Its theme parks division delivered an even better 8% gain in revenue, and that was with a decline at Disneyland Paris weighing down growth. It wasn't all perfect for Disney closer to home. Attendance at its Disneyland resort did tick lower, but that was expected after the prior year's magnetic Cars Land debut. Disneyland still scored record revenue as guests passing through its turnstiles were spending more than they did last year.

Not to be outdone, Cedar Fair rival Six Flags also boosted its dividend yesterday. Both Cedar Fair and Six Flags are now yielding better than 5%. Their parks may contain some pretty wild roller coasters, but income investors are warming up to the regional operators for their fat and growing distributions. For its part, Six Flags posted growth in last month's report. Six Flags has now rattled off 14 consecutive record quarters, and that was with a fatal coaster accident in Texas holding attendance back at that particular park.

This brings us to SeaWorld Entertainment preparing to report its summertime results next week. Wednesday's report can't be taken for granted. Despite all three of the country's other publicly traded park operators posting between 4% and 8% growth during the telltale quarter, SeaWorld's been battling the negative publicity stemming from the Blackfish documentary that takes the company to task for its treatment of killer whales. Yes, SeaWorld and other marine life parks survived the more widely publicized The Cove documentary four years ago. However, we do live in a more sensitive age of social media in which unflattering news can spread quickly.

Investors will want to make sure that SeaWorld was able to grow during the pivotal third quarter, but you can be sure analysts will be pressing the company for more color on how things are holding up now that the documentary is starting to gain steam since airing on CNN on Oct. 24. Its peers may have emerged from the summer stronger than ever, but now SeaWorld has to prove that the improvement is unanimous.

Source: SeaWorld Entertainment.

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The article Will SeaWorld Ride Alongside Disney, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags? originally appeared on Fool.com.

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