Six Flags delivers record full year 2011 adjusted EBITDA

By | February 15, 2012

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX) announced today that Adjusted EBITDA(1) reached a record $350 million for full year 2011, an improvement of $55 million or 19 percent over 2010, primarily as a result of higher guest spending and lower cash operating costs. Full year 2011 Modified EBITDA(2) margin, the most directly comparable measure of the parks’ performance, reached an industry high of 37.4 percent—also a record high for the company—and represented a 430 basis point improvement over 2010. Revenue for the full year 2011 increased $37 million to $1.0 billion, representing a 4 percent gain primarily due to a $44 million or 5 percent increase in guest spending, offset by a collective $6 million decline in sponsorship, international licensing, management fees and accommodations revenue.

“With all-time-high guest satisfaction ratings and record financial performance, our team has delivered an exceptional year for guests and shareholders alike,” said Jim Reid-Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO. “I am particularly pleased that we achieved our aspirational Adjusted EBITDA target of $350 million in 2011. Our success is directly attributable to a focused business strategy, quality execution and the dedication of our employees—our company’s most important asset.”

Fourth quarter 2011 Adjusted EBITDA was $35 million, a $13 million or 60 percent improvement over prior year driven by strong revenue growth. Revenue of $138 million increased $16 million or 13 percent. Admissions revenue per capita declined $0.36 or 2 percent to $19.21 due to strong season pass attendance. In-park revenue per capita of $15.61 increased $0.07 while total guest spending per capita of $34.82 declined $0.29 due to the high season pass attendance mix. Guest attendance increased 16 percent to 3.6 million guests. In the quarter, total cash expenses increased $3 million or 3 percent primarily due to higher labor and marketing costs associated with the highly successful expanded Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park offerings.

For the full year 2011, admissions revenue per capita of $22.30 increased $1.24 or 6 percent over 2010 while in-park revenue per capita of $17.03 increased $0.54 or 3 percent. Guest spending per capita for 2011 was $39.33, compared to $37.55 for full year 2010, representing an increase of $1.78 or 5 percent. Full year attendance was 24.3 million guests. Cash expenses decreased $22 million or 3 percent in 2011 primarily due to lower costs associated with marketing, compensation and utility costs.

Cash earnings per share(3) in 2011 was $3.51. Since the company emerged from Chapter 11 on April 30, 2010 with a new capital structure, the comparable prior period cash earnings per share figure is not meaningful. The company believes cash earnings per share is a meaningful metric given the current $1.1 billion accumulated tax loss carryforward and the net depreciation and amortization impacts relating to fresh-start accounting. The 2011 reported loss per share was $0.41.

Free Cash Flow(4) was $193 million for full year 2011—an increase of $65 million or 51 percent. Capital expenditures, net of property insurance recoveries, were $91 million for full year 2011.

Net Debt(5) as of December 31, 2011 was $726 million, compared to $784 million as of December 31, 2010 — a reduction of $58 million. In the fourth quarter the company repurchased $18.5 million or approximately 452,000 shares of its stock. During 2011 the company repurchased $60 million of its common stock, paid a $30 million arbitration settlement, incurred $25 million of debt refinancing fees and issued $10 million of dividends. The company had $231 million of cash on hand as of December 31, 2011 and a net debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio of 2.1 times as compared to 2.7 times as of December 31, 2010.