Monday, July 25, 2011

Heard On Six Flags 2nd Quarter 2011 Conference Call

Six Flags Entertainment Corp has announced their second quarter 2011 financial results, most of which are showing positive trends for the theme park operator.

You can read all the details directly from Six Flags, but some of the highlights are a 5% increase in revenue, and far more significant increases in EBITDA.  Attendance is reported to be up just slightly over last year.  The company also held a conference call today, which was heavily focused on the numbers making it a little less interesting than normal for park fans (I do miss Mr. Shapiro in that regard!).  Still, I did make some notes on the call:

• The company's strategy is to become the leading regional theme park operator, taking a "good" company and making it into a "great" one.  Pretty obvious goal to me, who wants to be second (or third... maybe fourth?)

• Improved results will come from a mixed bag of efforts such as improved ticket yield, cost management, a more integrated marketing plan, and operation efficiencies. 

• Currently finding that overall guest satisfaction and value perception are at all time highs in visitor feedback.

• The "old" Six Flags gave far too many deep discounts on admission, and they must now work to get their margins back in line with the industry.  They are steadily increasing ticket yield by reducing overall level of discounts and better timing discounts (higher discounts in slow periods, etc.).

• Marketing "go big" campaign is on target with new business model, which is regionally based, not nationally.

•  We all love capital planning, and the new management has now established a 5 year capital plan for all the parks.  They intend to continue to cater to what each park's local market wants.  They've also decided to go with a capital expansion yearly budget of approximately 9% of revenues.  Based on last year's revenues, that's about $88 million.

• They have announced a new goal of hitting $500 million in EBITDA by 2015.  That's quite a stretch in my mind, they had about $300 million last year.  This goal is assuming the current park portfolio, too.

•  The company has reduced some corporate relationships that didn't fit well, and taken some of those sponsored items in-house.  This has led to a reduction in revenues from partnerships.

•  Finally, in a grab bag of sorts - there were about 5% less operating days in the quarter, as they closed parks on some days with historically low attendance, there was "adverse weather" in June which hurt operations, they reduced the number of free tickets given out in the quarter by one hundred thousand, and they've seen a double digit increase in the number of season passes sold this year.

Cedar Fair's results are due next week, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of year they're having compared to this.


robert said...

well i guess that the parking will go up to $25-$30 soon and they will have even less shows.

The discounts is what got me into the park with my family to spend $$$ when in the park. Now we just go to knoebels, HP or KD to see atleast more shows and a better atmosphere.

What SF is doing now WILL hurt them in the future. The $$$ is coming int now but when the GP leave they will probly not come back