Six Flags plummets on results, outlook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Theme park operator Six Flags Inc SIX.N said on Friday its quarterly profit fell sharply, and it forecast lower-than-expected full year revenue, sending its stock to a 10-year low.

Six Flags, the world’s largest regional amusement park operator, has been selling off parks and trying to make the remaining ones more family friendly, but it said on Friday bad weather and an accident on one of its rides kept some people away during the busy summer season.

Its shares fell 18.2 percent to $2.20 on the New York Stock Exchange, the lowest point since their December 1997 listing on the Big Board.

Six Flags, which has 21 amusement parks across the United States, reported a third-quarter net profit of $84.2 million, or 61 cents per share, compared with $159.3 million, or $1.08 per share, a year ago. The year-ago period included a one-time gain of $36.8 million from discontinued operations.

Wall Street was expecting profit of $1.28 per share, on average, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $465.2 million, which the company blamed on bad weather in July cutting attendance at its Texas and Georgia parks, and bad publicity from an accident at its park in Kentucky. That fell short of analysts’ average estimate of $492.65 million revenue.

Six Flags, which has its headquarters in New York, has been restructuring its operations and selling parks since a shake-up of its board and top management after investor Daniel Snyder won a long-running battle for control of the company in 2005.

The company said its overhaul was still on track, but forecast revenue of only $965 million to $970 million this year, well below Wall Street’s average forecast of $998.75 million.

It also expects to take a charge of about $30 million in the fourth quarter as it gets rid of old or inefficient rides at its theme parks.

Reporting by Bill Rigby, editing by Dave Zimmerman