SeaWorld shares skyrocket after earnings show better attendance

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SeaWorld in San Diego, California.

SeaWorld Entertainment shares jumped after a strong second-quarter earnings report, boosted by higher attendance after years of declining visitor interest.

Shares were up as much as 18 percent, rising the most in over five years, after the company reported second-quarter revenue increased 4.9 percent to $391.9 million from the same quarter last year.

Interim CEO John Reilly said new attractions in several of its theme parks have driven up attendance and season pass sales in the past several months. Attendance increased 4.8 percent to 6.4 million visitors from the year-ago quarter.

“The results were driven by our new strategic pricing strategies, new marketing and communications initiatives and the positive reception of our new rides, attractions and events,” Reilly said in a release on Monday. “We are particularly pleased with our second quarter attendance growth, which more than offset the negative impacts from unfavorable weather across several of our markets in the quarter.”

Reilly added that he expects planned promotions for Halloween and Christmas to drive up ticket sales further in the remainder of the year.

Attendance has suffered at SeaWorld’s parks since the company’s treatment of animals and related deaths of trainers was called into question in the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.” Since then, the theme park operator announced that it would not breed killer whales and stop using them in shows.

Earnings for the quarter were 26 cents per share, just short of the consensus analyst estimate of 27 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters. The company reported a loss of $2.05 in the same quarter last year.

SeaWorld operates 12 theme parks, including parks in Florida, California and Texas as well as Busch Gardens parks in Florida and Virginia.

Shares of the company have increased 56 percent through Friday’s close.



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