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Revenue numbers better than fair

Melissa Topey • Nov 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Cedar Fair officials have once again announced record performance, with third-quarter 2013 revenue rising to $592.1 million.

This is a 7-percent increase from the same period last year, Cedar Fair CEO and president Matt Ouimet said Thursday.

The company is projecting this year’s revenue to finish at $1.125 billion to $1.135 billion, which would be yet another record year.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am of the Cedar Fair team and of their hard work during the operating season,” Ouimet said. “It is because of them we are announcing our fourth consecutive year of record revenue.”

The revenue figures are the result of both record attendance and in-park sales. October was a record month for attendance, with preliminary figures through Nov. 3 — at all Cedar Fair parks — showing 22.7 million people passed the gates, said Stacy Frole, the company’s spokeswoman.

A quarterly cash dividend of 70 cents per unit will be paid out on Dec. 16.

News that the company already has the money to pay the dividend is impressive to Randy Hunt, senior vice president for investments at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. The strong and consistent performance of the company’s operations, especially in the last three months, is amazing, Hunt said.

“Matt is great,” he said. “He has brought this company back to its prime.”

Thursday’s news also made unit-holders and Wall Street happy.

Cedar Fair stock closed at $46.72, up 2.75 percent from Wednesday’s close.

The company’s outlook for the full year is above what analysts expected. All but one analyst on a status call Thursday congratulated Ouimet and his management team on the performance, choosing words like “phenomenal” to get their point across. One analyst thanked the team for a summer of fun as he watched the company’s unit prices continue to rise skyward.

Wall Street analysts are bullish on Cedar Fair and rate the stock as a buy, Hunt said.

“I like the stock. I own it myself, in the interest of full disclosure,” he said. “It’s a great long-term investment.”

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