SeaWorld third quarter earnings dropped by 28 percent, attendance falls

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. posted third quarter earnings of $87.2 million, or $1 per share, a 28 percent drop year-over-year as attendance to its theme parks decreased.

The company’s revenue in the quarter dropped by 7.9 percent, down to $495.8 million and shares fell by 10 percent on Wednesday morning – shares have fallen 36 percent since the beginning of the year.

SeaWorld has been struggling to recover its public image after a documentary called “Blackfish” was released which criticized the way the company treats its killer whales, suggesting that its treatment of animals provokes violent behavior.

According to SeaWorld, attendance in the third quarter fell by 5.6 percent down to 8.4 million, from 8.9 million in the same quarter the previous year.

The company says that the poor results stem from bad publicity and increasing competition from other theme parks, such as the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.

Atchison announced a $50 million cost savings initiative and said that the company is going to be increasing marketing and establish more of a presence in the Middle East and Asia.

seaworld whale

There is concern among the public about how SeaWorld treats its animals. 

SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison said in a statement on the company’s website:

“Consistent with the update we provided in August, the attendance trends the Company experienced in the latter part of the second quarter continued into the third quarter. Clearly 2014 has been a challenging year, but I am confident we are taking the necessary steps to address our near term challenges and position the Company to deliver value over the long term.”

Adding:

”We are executing a cost savings plan that is expected to deliver approximately $50 million of annual cost savings by the end of 2015. At the same time, we are adjusting our attraction and marketing plans to address our immediate top-line concerns. While we recognize that we are in the early stages of these initiatives, we firmly believe these actions will enable us to overcome the current challenges we face and enhance our competitive standing.”

Atchison concluded:

“In the longer term, we have extended our Memorandum of Understanding and continue to work with our partners in the Middle East evaluating the business plan, technical models, and proposed agreements for a multi-park development. The first phase of the project is expected to open in 2020. We also continue to work with Village Roadshow Theme Parks on development opportunities in Asia and other international markets,”

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