Revenue grew 3% to $284.5 million, as a nearly 2% increase in attendance and a 1% uptick per capita guest spending combined to narrowly beat the 2% top-line increase that Wall Street was targeting. Fellow regional park operator Six Flags
Cedar Fair's quarterly profit of $0.08 a share reversed a similar deficit during last year's second quarter, but analysts -- like disappointed Windseeker riders -- expected more from the experience.
Wall Street figured that Cedar Fair would earn $0.15 a share during the period, but the pros should be used to overestimating the operator's production on the bottom line by now. This is fifth consecutive quarter in which Cedar Fair has missed analyst income estimates, and the ninth in the past 10 quarters.
This serial underachieving -- coupled with burdensome debt and a rollercoaster ride of a dividend -- made it easy for activists to all but shoo CEO Dick Kinzel through the exit turnstile. The company recently brought in former Disney
The company's seasonally potent third quarter is off to a better start, with revenue clocking in 6% higher in July after a 5% pop in attendance.
This should be a good time to be operating an amusement park. It's the one place outside of concert events where advertisers can cut through the clutter of social networking websites and home-based gaming to reach large and influential youthful audiences.
The companies investing in major additions are reaping rewards. Comcast's
Cedar Fair is in a bind. Investors want fatter dividend checks, and Cedar Fair is promising a dramatic hike next year. Park guests want new coasters, but we've yet to hear what the company's 2012 investments will be. Can its burdensome balance sheet satisfy both parties?
Windseeker is starting up once more. Here we go in circles, again.
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