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Cedar Fair Profits Drop 4% to $104M for 2014

02/20/15 at 12:16pm in Cedar Fair Profits Drop 4% to $104M for 2014 (Latest Edit: 02/20/15 at 01:16pm by Joe.)
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The Blade Wrote:Higher operating costs and a minor drop in overall attendance brought Cedar Fair LP’s profits down slightly last year.

On Thursday the amusement park company reported a 2014 profit of $104 million, or $1.86 per share, down 4 percent from the previous year when Cedar Fair’s profit was $108 million, or $1.94 per share.

For the year, the Sandusky-based company did have record revenues of $1.16 billion, up 2 percent from $1.13 billion in 2013. Cedar Fair said it revenues rose partly because of a rise in average guest spending to $45.54 per person — up $1.39 from 2013 — and a 2 percent increase in out-of-park revenues, which mainly are stays at the company’s five hotels, to $127 million.

But Cedar Fair said it was hurt slightly by a 1 percent decrease in attendance to 23.3 million visits at its 11 amusement parks and four water parks.

Also, its operating costs and expenses rose 4 percent to $748 million. The increased operating costs were planned and included a rise in labor hours and rates, merit increases for full-time workers, initiatives that enhanced customers’ visits and included more midway entertainment in the parks, and long-term projects such as the company’s new FunTV.

“We are pleased to report a very strong finish to 2014, allowing us to achieve our fifth consecutive year of record results,” said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s president and chief executive officer. “More importantly, we were able to advance important long-term initiatives that support our ability to continue to grow our business in the years to come.”

Examples of long-term initiatives that will launch in 2015 include the renovation of the beachfront hotel and group catering pavilions at the company’s flagship Cedar Point park in Sandusky and the second phase of a multiyear investment at Carowinds park in Charlotte.

For the fourth quarter, which is traditionally Cedar Fair’s weakest, the company had a loss of $18 million, or 32 cents a share, on revenues of $160 million. That compared with the fourth quarter of 2013 when it had a loss of $20 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenues of $139 million.

Cedar Fair stock closed at $52.75 a share Thursday, down 72 cents on the New York Stock Exchange.

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