SeaWorld shares are crashing, having fallen as much as 31% on Wednesday, after the theme-park operator reported earnings and revenue that missed expectations.
This report comes about a year CNN’s controversial documentary “Blackfish,” which brought to light questions regarding the treatment of Orca whales.
SeaWorld reported earnings of $US0.43 per share, less than the $US0.59 that was expected by analysts.
Second-quarter revenue also missed expectations, coming in at $US405.2 million against expectations for $US445.3 million.
Attendance at the company’s parks increased modestly, rising 0.3% against the prior year to 6.6 million. Attendance in the second quarter last year, however, declined 9%. Year to date, attendance at SeaWorld parks is down 4.3%.
“We were pleased to report attendance growth in the quarter despite a challenging industry and competitive environment and a tough comparison to the prior year quarter,” SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison said.
For the full year, SeaWorld expects revenue to decline 6% to 7% over last year, which contrasts sharply with current Wall Street expectations for an increase of 3%. The company also expects adjusted EBITDA, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, to decline 14% to 16% from a year ago.
Atchison added: “In order to drive growth, we are undertaking a number of initiatives, including a detailed review of our Company-wide cost structure with the goal of driving significant cash cost savings in 2014 and 2015. Our intent is to re-invest these savings into additional new attractions at our destination parks and return capital to shareholders.”
As part of its capital return plans, SeaWorld announced a $US250 million share repurchase authorization, which begins Jan. 1.
On Twitter, CNBC’s Giovanny Moreano noted that SeaWorld’s plunge put the shares at their lowest level on record.
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