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Six Flags loses less in 4th-quarter as revenue rises 21 percent and costs fall

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February 24, 2011

Higher revenue and lower costs helped amusement park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corp. narrow its fourth-quarter loss, the company said Tuesday.

Compared with a year earlier, the nation's second-largest amusement park operator parks said it welcomed 19 percent more visitors, 3.1 million in all, in the period that ended Dec. 31. The company in part credited holiday promotions in October and December. It also said spending per visitor rose 57 cents to $39.75.

Six Flags, which emerged from bankruptcy court protection last April, lost $94.3 million, or $3.38 per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $115.5 million, or $1.18 per share, in the period a year earlier.

The company said its per-share results can't be compared because a new capital structure affects the way it reports its financials. Six Flags also had more shares outstanding a year ago.

Operating expenses dropped to $95.6 million from $106.4 million during the quarter.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $121.8 million from $101.1 million as in-park sales, admissions and sponsorship fees all rose. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected an adjusted loss of $1.98 per share and $116.9 million in revenue.

Six Flags shares fell 46 cents to $62.04 Tuesday afternoon.

For the year, Six Flags earned $598.9 million. In 2009, it lost $245.5 million.

Full-year revenue increased 9 percent to $975.9 million from $898.9 million. Analysts expected $970.3 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Full-year guest count climbed 4 percent to 24.3 million, and guest spending rose by $1.55 to $40.18 per person.

Six Flags has 19 parks across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

The Walt Disney Co. is the nation's largest amusement park operator and Cedar Fair the third-largest.


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