Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN) reported third-quarter financial results on Oct. 30. The amusement park master limited partnership saw its profit lifted by higher guest spending at its parks and hotels, prompting the company to reiterate its full-year financial outlook and raise its cash payout to its unitholders.

Cedar Fair results: The raw numbers


Q3 2018

Q3 2017

Year-Over-Year Change

Net revenue

$663.7 million

$652.7 million


Adjusted EBITDA

$338.1 million

$333.6 million


Net income per unit




Data source: Cedar Fair Q3 2018 earnings press release. Chart by author.

What happened with Cedar Fair this quarter?

Cedar Fair's net revenue rose 2% year over year to $664 million, fueled by a 2% increase in average in-park guest spending and an 8% jump in out-of-park revenue.

Average in-park guest spending increased $0.74 to $49.47, boosted by sales of the company's all-season dining and beverage programs. Out-of-park revenue, meanwhile, benefited from higher occupancy and average daily room rates at Cedar Fair's resort hotels. Together, these increases more than offset a 0.5% decline in attendance, to 12.4 million visits, which was driven by inclement weather.

"Our solid third-quarter results reflect a sustained momentum at our parks, following a strong performance in August," CEO Richard Zimmerman said in a press release. "This strength carried into October as we continue to broaden our entertainment offerings for audiences of all ages during our award winning Halloween events."

Operating income increased 1% to $259 million, as higher revenue was partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization expense. And adjusted EBITDA -- which helps to highlight Cedar Fair's park-level operating results by excluding the impact of foreign exchange, interest rate swaps, debt extinguishment costs, stock-based compensation, and certain other charges -- also rose 1%, to $338 million.

All told, net income -- which was beneficially impacted by a lower effective tax rate resulting from tax reform -- leapt 11% to $213 million, or $3.76 per limited partner unit.

A person handing out $100 bills

Bigger profits mean bigger cash payouts for Cedar Fair investors. Image source: Getty Images.

Looking forward

These results prompted Cedar Fair to reaffirm its full-year financial forecast, which includes net revenue of $1.32 billion to $1.34 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $460 million to $470 million.

The partnership also raised its quarterly cash distribution by 4% to $0.925 per unit. That places the MLP's forward yield at more than 7% at current prices.

"The company's attractive, sustainable, and growing distribution is a key aspect of our value proposition for investors, and we remain committed to further extending our long track record of distribution growth in 2019 and beyond," Zimmerman said.

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