Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Heard On... Six Flags 3rd Quarter 2015 Results Call

Six Flags Entertainment Corp. has released their 3rd quarter 2015 results, and they're quite proud of the success they've had.  For the quarter revenue increased $33 million over last year, to $575 million, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, etc) was up $17 million to $308 million.  Many other metrics were up as well, including higher admissions and in-park revenue.

A conference call was held after the earnings release, some details from which are below:

• The third quarter of 2015 was the best ever in Six Flags' 54 year history, and the company now has a rolling 12 month EBITDA of $504 million, beating the $500 million target set back in 2011.  The new target is $600 million in EBITDA by 2017.

• The company's modified EBITDA margin - a heavy statistic for public companies - is now just under 41% for the past 12 months, which is the highest in the industry according to Six Flags.

• Six Flags' active pass membership base has increased 25% year over year, showing the huge success the company's "membership" plan has been.  Less people are dropping out of the membership plans after 12 months than they expected.   Total attendance for the quarter grew by 9% to 12.9 million visitors.  For the first 9 months of 2015 total attendance also grew 9% totaling 23.4 million.

• The higher attendance from season and membership passes pushed down admission revenue per cap by $0.65 and in-park per capita by $0.27, though much of these were from the strong dollar eroding profits from the parks in Mexico and Canada.

• Six Flags gave more details on their foreign park developments, in terms of revenue from them.  Each signed park will generate $5 to $10 million in EBITDA before the park opens and $10 to $20 million in EBITDA annually once open.

• The first park for China has been announced to be in Haiyan, which is 60ish miles south of Shanghai and has 150 million people living with in 200 miles of the park.  The park in Dubai is also progressing - both could open by 2018 though that's not a firm date.

• New parks are in talks with developers in Asia and Latin America, but they will not be working on any parks in Europe - Six Flags' CEO sees a park in Europe as not "really appropriate."

• The company has seen no pushback from visitors as they increase ticket prices each year, meaning they see a long term ability to continue to raise admission and pass prices each year.

• The peak attendance year for the current portfolio of Six Flags owned parks was in 2001, when over 29 million people visited the parks.  Current levels are still well below that peak year.

• The profile of both the season pass base and membership base is pretty evenly 50% teens and %50 families.  New attractions will continue to be aimed at both.