ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) on Thursday reported a loss of $9 million in its first quarter. However, SeaWorld noted that it was the smallest net loss the company has reported in a first quarter and an improvement of $35.9 million or 80% from the first quarter of 2021.
On a per-share basis, the Orlando, Florida-based company said it had a loss of 12 cents. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 15 cents per share.
The theme park operator posted revenue of $270.7 million in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $261.8 million.
Among first quarter highlights, SeaWorld Entertainment said attendance at its parks increased by 1.2 million guests, or 53.7%, from the first quarter of 2021 for a total of 3.4 million park visitors. That represented the highest first-quarter attendance for the company since 2013.
Also, total revenue per capita increased 2.5% to a record $79.54 from the first quarter of 2021 – admission per capita increased 2.5% to $44.33 while in-park per capita spending increased 2.4% to a record $35.21 from the first quarter of 2021.
"While our first-quarter performance was strong and continued our momentum from 2021, we have scope for further recovery as it still does not yet reflect a normalized operating environment," said Marc Swanson, Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "In particular, international and group-related visitation is improving, but was not yet back to pre-COVID levels, and we have opportunities to improve staffing levels to capture even more in-park spending demand."
The company provided the following updates on some of these rides and attractions:
- In February, the Icebreaker rollercoaster opened at SeaWorld Orlando.
- In March, the Tidal Surge screaming swing opened at SeaWorld San Antonio, the Iron Gwazi rollercoaster opened at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the Reef Plunge waterslide opened at Aquatica Orlando, the Emperor rollercoaster opened at SeaWorld San Diego, the Pantheon rollercoaster opened at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Riptide Race waterslide opened at Aquatica San Antonio.
- In April, Big Bird's Tour Bus ride opened at Sesame Place Philadelphia.
- Later this month, the company will open Water Country USA in Virginia for its traditional operating season, featuring its all-new Aquazoid Amped waterslide and at Adventure Island Tampa, the Rapids Racer, and Wahoo Remix waterslides will open.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica, Sesame Place, and Sea Rescue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.