Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cedar Fair Reports Record Results for August 2018 + A Hint at What Else is New for 2019

© Cedar Fair
After reporting some disappointing 2nd quarter results, Cedar Fair has provided their annual update reflecting year to date results through Labor Day, the end of the traditional summer season.

While results through July looked less than stellar, it looks like August was a very solid month for the company, in fact they have said that it produced records results.

"For the five weeks, preliminary net revenues were $288 million, up 6%, or $17 million, when compared with the same period in 2017.  This was the result of a 5%, or 255,000-visit, increase in attendance, a 1%, or $0.52, increase in average in-park per capita spending and a 7%, or $2 million, increase in out-of-park revenues, including resort accommodations."

So all those key factors were a big plus in the month of August when compared to last year, but it wasn't enough to really move the needle on the whole year's net results.  The company lowered their estimate of full year EBITDA to between $460m to $470m, down from their original projection of between $475m and $495m.  Still, the market seemed to like the news, moving the stock price up a couple dollars on the news.

There was one more item in the press release worth noting - we haven't heard much about 2019 from several parks, including California's Great America, Knott's Berry Farm, Valleyfair, Dorney Park, Michigan's Adventure and Kings Dominion.  The park's CEO Richard Zimmerman had this quote about remaining 2019 capital plans:

"Additionally, guests can expect to see a variety of new and enhanced celebratory and regionally focused events and activities unique to each park's brand, including more nighttime entertainment accentuated with special lighting and décor, while featuring unique culinary fare created by our onsite executive chefs."

So, it sounds like the announcements that many are still waiting for will be a series of special events and festivals, if I'm reading between the lines correctly here.  I'm intrigued by him specifically calling out "special lighting and decor," as well.  The Peanuts Celebration expanded from Knott's to Kings Island last year, and many parks put on barbecue and brew/food-type festivals each year... but that description sounds like something a bit more detailed might be coming.  We will have to see exactly how this plan plays out at the parks when more details are revealed.