Higher attendance and prices boost Six Flags profits

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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GRAND PRAIRIE -- Thanks to improved attendance and higher prices at its theme parks, third-quarter profits for Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp. went up 31 percent, the company reported today.

Six Flags, the owner of Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, reported net income of $253 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, or $4.33 a share, compared to $192.8 million, or $3.43 a share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter was $485 million, up $10 million, or 2 percent, driven by an increase in admissions revenue, the company said.

"Cash flow is growing nicely," said Six Flags CEO Jim Reid-Anderson in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. "Six Flags has shown this business can generate high recurring revenue. We feel fantastic about where we are."

Despite the positive report, shares of Six Flags (ticker: SIX) were down $6.58, or 10.5 percent, at $55.76 in morning trading.

Admissions revenue per capita increased slightly to $23.51, the result of higher prices offset by a higher mix of season pass attendance, the company said. Attendance at the company's 19 parks increased 3 percent in the quarter to 11.5 million guests, Six Flags said.

Reid-Anderson said attendance for the year so far has grown 8 percent, to 25.6 million, and is "headed north." Four parks will host Holiday in the Park events later this year.

The company has focused on selling season passes as a way to increase revenue, Reid-Anderson said, even though season pass guests tend to spend less per visit. Over the course of the year, however, season pass holders spend more than single-day guests, he said.

Sales of season passes for 2013 are already showing a double-digit increase compared to sales last year of 2012 passes, he said.

"We are seeing no let up in the purchase of season passes," Reid-Anderson said.

On Sept. 28, the company said it sold its minority interest in Dick Clark Productions for $70 million. The money was used to buy back 1.1 million share of stock, the company said.

Sandra Baker, (817) 390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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