Cedar Fair reported a net loss of $136 million for the three months ending September 30, 2020, with a loss of more than $484 million for the year to date. But company officials noted encouraging signs in recent weeks, as attendance levels began to rise at the parks the chain was able to open this summer.
"Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we continue to take positive steps to bridge the crisis and position the Company for a return to historical performance levels as quickly as possible," Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard Zimmerman said. "While operations continue to be challenged, we are very pleased with how demand trends have continued to improve at the parks that have reopened, and we are encouraged by the learnings and momentum we’ve gained heading into 2021. Attendance has progressed from a range of 20% to 25% of comparable prior year levels upon the initial reopening of parks in late June and early July, to 35% to 40% over the last three months.
"The progress we’ve made in reopening parks and driving attendance recovery demonstrates the enduring strength of our regional brands and the loyalty of the guest base in each of our markets,” added Zimmerman. “We remain confident that we will successfully emerge from this challenge a stronger and more profitable company."
Cedar Fair — which owns Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Canada's Wonderland, and Kings Island, among other regional theme and amusement parks — reported attendance of 1.3 million guests in the quarter and 2.28 million guests for the year to date. That's down from nearly 13.2 million visitors in the same quarter last year and 22.86 million guests for the first nine months of 2019. Cedar Fair's largest park, Knott's Berry Farm, closed in March due to the pandemic has not reopened. Canada's Wonderland, Carowinds, and Kings Dominion also remained closed for the season, though Cedar Point and Kings Island did reopen by mid-summer and the company has conducted or planned limited operations at Knott's Berry Farm and Carowinds.
Cedar Fair reported a burn rate of $25 million a month, with $225 million cash on hand and a total liquidity of $877 million at the end of the third quarter, thanks to its recent notes offering and revolving credit facility. As a result, Cedar Fair said "we have concluded we will have sufficient liquidity to satisfy our obligations and remain in compliance with our debt covenants through the end of 2021."
As for new attractions going forward, don't expect much news anytime soon from the company, officials said.
"We have no material long-term commitments for new attractions, providing us maximum flexibility to tailor our 2021 and 2022 capital programs based on the speed of the recovery," Executive Vice President and CFO Brian Witherow said in a conference call with investors. "With nearly half of our resorts unable to open this year, many new rides and attractions that were originally planned for 2020 have yet to be introduced to our guests, meaning our capital investments for the 2021 season will be a fraction of what we've invested in previous years and will be focused on completing projects already processed that are critical to reopening next year, plus any necessary compliance or infrastructure work."
"Once business conditions normalize, we will be in a better position to frame up what our capital programs for the 2021 and 2022 seasons will entail," he said.
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