SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS) is starting off weakly this morning, with SEAS stock plunging 6% lower thanks to an earnings miss that came as a result of a double-digit drop in attendance.
For its Q1, SeaWorld posted a net loss of $61.1 million (72 cents per diluted share), compared to a net loss of $84 million ($1 per diluted share) in the year-ago quarter, management said today.
Total revenues were $186.4 million, compared to $220.2 million in comparable quarter of 2016. The decline in revenues were primarily due to a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday, which fell during the second quarter this year vs. the first quarter last year, according to a company announcement.
Analysts had expected a loss of 55 cents per share of SEAS stock on revenue of $205.9 million.
Attendance fell 15% to 2.81 million visitors whose spending also declined, down 0.6% to $66.41 per capita.
The calendar shift pushed out the timing of spring break for a number of schools. Year-to-date attendance through the end of April was essentially flat over the prior year period, the company said. Attendance in the first quarter fell by approximately 491,000 people or 14.9%, compared to the first quarter of 2016.
SEAS owns and operates 12 theme parks including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens locations. Earlier this week, the company said that a unit of China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co., Ltd. acquired a 21% stake. The two companies are already working together to develop theme parks in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau over the next three years.
These agreements are expected to generate approximately $14 million in revenue for SeaWorld over the next three years.
“Given the improving attendance trends we saw in April, and the incredibly robust lineup of new attractions we are launching in the coming weeks, we are well-positioned going into our seasonally important second and third quarters,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO. “Our season pass sales revenues for 2017 are up nearly 6%; the cost optimization program we initiated in the fourth quarter of 2016 continues to have a positive impact on results; and the successful renewal and increased capacity of our revolving credit facility and refinancing of our existing term debt in late March of 2017 enhances our financial flexibility.”
In addition to the first-quarter results, management said for the full year of 2017, the company expects Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $330 million to $360 million.
SEAS stock is down more than 7% so far this year.