Seventh Consecutive Record Year for Six Flags
Fourth Quarter Revenue Grows 10 Percent Driven by 22 Percent Attendance Gain
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, today announced that 2016 represented its seventh consecutive year of record financial performance as revenue grew $55 million or 4 percent to $1.3 billion. The full-year revenue growth resulted primarily from a 5 percent increase in the number of guests visiting Six Flags parks and the success of the company’s pricing strategy and international licensing program. Attendance at Six Flags properties in 2016 grew by 1.6 million to 30.1 million, a record high for the current portfolio of parks, driven by the continued success of selling season passes and memberships, whose holders accounted for 60 percent of total visitation. On a constant currency basis, which excludes the foreign exchange translation impact from the company’s parks in Mexico and Canada, revenue grew $69 million or 6 percent.
Net income for the year decreased by $36 million or 24 percent primarily driven by an increase in non-cash compensation expense associated with the probable achievement of the company’s Project 600 performance award, a long-term growth goal established in 2014. Diluted earnings per share for 2016 was $1.25, representing a decrease of $0.33 or 21 percent compared to 2015. Adjusted EBITDA2 for the full year grew to a new high of $507 million, up $25 million or 5 percent over prior year, and up $32 million or 7 percent on a constant currency basis. Modified EBITDA3 for the year was $545 million, while Modified EBITDA margin increased to a new industry high of 41.3 percent.
“Our strategy is working as we introduce innovative attractions in every park, increase season pass and membership sales, implement strategic pricing gains and in-park revenue initiatives, and grow our international licensing business,” said John Duffey, President and CEO. “With strong attendance momentum and a 15 percent increase in our Active Pass Base, we are very well-positioned for the 2017 season. We remain confident in our ability to deliver our goal of $600 million of Modified EBITDA in 2017 and continue to work toward our long-term aspirational goal of $750 million of Modified EBITDA by 2020.”
Fourth quarter 2016 revenue grew $22 million or 10 percent to a new record high of $239 million. The strong revenue growth was primarily driven by a 1.1 million or 22 percent increase in attendance resulting from the growing popularity of the company’s Fright Fest® and Holiday in the Park® events. On a constant currency basis, revenue grew $27 million or 13 percent. Net income for the fourth quarter 2016 was $2 million and Adjusted EBITDA increased to $76 million, representing a $13 million or 22 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2015. On a constant currency basis, Adjusted EBITDA grew $16 million or 28 percent.
The company’s Active Pass Base, which represents the total number of guests who have purchased a season pass or who are enrolled in the company’s membership program, increased 15 percent year over year. The increase in the Active Pass Base is in line with the company’s overall strategy to upsell guests to multi-visit passes. Season pass holders and members are the company’s most valuable guests since they generate higher revenue and cash flow for the company than a single day guest, and also provide an excellent hedge against inclement weather throughout the season.
Deferred revenue of $124 million increased by $27 million or 27 percent from year-end 2015, primarily due to a higher level of season pass, membership and all season dining pass sales for the 2017 season.
Total guest spending per capita in 2016 was $41.07, a decrease of $0.53 or 1 percent compared to 2015, almost all of which related to changes in year-over-year foreign currency exchange rates. On a constant currency basis, full year total guest spending declined by $0.07. For the fourth quarter of 2016, guest spending per capita was $35.39, a decline of $2.48 or 7 percent, driven by a high mix of season pass and membership attendance as well as foreign currency exchange rates. On a constant currency basis, fourth quarter guest spending per capita decreased $1.56.
In 2016, the company generated $292 million of free cash flow after investing $129 million in new capital, which included approximately half of the $18 million of incremental capital expenditures related to the new water park in Oaxtepec, Mexico that will open in March 2017. The company also paid $220 million in dividends, or $2.38 per common share for the year, and repurchased $212 million or 3.7 million shares of its common stock, leaving 90.8 million shares of stock outstanding as of December 31, 2016.
Net Debt4 as of December 31, 2016 was $1,516 million, which translates to a 3.0 times net leverage ratio.
About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.3 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 56 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.
The information contained in this release, other than historical information, consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, (i) the adequacy of cash flows from operations, available cash and available amounts under our credit facilities to meet our future liquidity needs, (ii) our ability to roll out our capital enhancements in a timely and cost effective manner, (iii) our ability to improve operating results by implementing strategic cost reductions, and organizational and personnel changes without adversely affecting our business, (iv) our operations and results of operations, and (v) the risk factors or uncertainties listed from time to time in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). In addition, important factors, including factors impacting attendance, such as local conditions, contagious diseases, events, disturbances and terrorist activities; recall of food, toys and other retail products sold at our parks; risk of accidents occurring at the company’s parks or other parks in the industry and adverse publicity concerning our parks or other parks in the industry; inability to achieve desired improvements and financial performance targets set forth in our aspirational goals; adverse weather conditions such as excess heat or cold, rain and storms; general financial and credit market conditions; economic conditions (including customer spending patterns); changes in public and consumer tastes; construction delays in capital improvements or ride downtime; competition with other theme parks and other entertainment alternatives; dependence on a seasonal workforce; unionization activities and labor disputes; laws and regulations affecting labor and employee benefit costs, including increases in state and federally mandated minimum wages, and healthcare reform; pending, threatened or future legal proceedings and the significant expenses associated with litigation; cyber security risks and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the company’s expectations. Although the company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will be realized and actual results could vary materially. Reference is made to a more complete discussion of forward-looking statements and applicable risks contained under the captions "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" and "Risk Factors" in the company’s Annual and Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, and its other filings and submissions with the SEC, each of which are available free of charge on the company’s investor relations website at www.investors.sixflags.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
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