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Bad weather cuts visitors, spurs loss at SeaWorld Entertainment theme parks

The number of visitors to SeaWorld Entertainment's 11 theme parks declined in the second quarter by 9 percent to 6.6 million from 7.2 million in the year-ago period, the Orlando-based company said Tuesday.

The result: a belly flop financial performance with a 3 percent drop in company revenues to $411 million and a $15.9 million net income loss for the quarter ended June 30. The company earned $39.1 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Adding to the decline: bad weather conditions at its Florida and Virginia parks for much of the quarter and at all but one of the its park locations in the month of June.

SeaWorld Entertainment, which includes Tampa's Busch Gardens, went public in April. Blackstone, the world's largest private-equity firm, bought SeaWorld from Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2009 and has kept a 63 percent stake in the company.

For the first half of 2013, the company reported record revenues despite a 6 percent drop in attendance from the same period in 2012 from 10.7 to 10.1 million visitors. SeaWorld raised prices, which hurt attendance but helped it get more revenue out of individual visitors. The company lost $56.2 million in the first six months of this year.

SeaWorld's shares fell 13.5 percent to $31.40 in after-hours trading.

Still, SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Jim Atchison was upbeat. "We are pleased with our first half results, particularly in light of a challenging second quarter due to the unfavorable timing of Easter and adverse weather conditions at many of our parks," he said.

The company said it remains on track to hit its earnings targets for the full year.

Bad weather cuts visitors, spurs loss at SeaWorld Entertainment theme parks 08/13/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 8:44pm]
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