Friday, 09 January 2004
Cedar Fair, L.P. Press Release
SANDUSKY, OHIO, January 9, 2004 -- Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN), a publicly traded partnership which owns and operates six amusement parks and five water parks, today announced that combined attendance in 2003 at its eleven properties totaled 12.2 million guests, down 1% from the Partnership's total attendance of almost 12.4 million in 2002.
"We are pleased with the attendance we were able to achieve in 2003, particularly given the poor early-season weather we encountered at several of our key seasonal parks and the continued overall softness in the economy," said Dick Kinzel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "For the entire year, attendance at our six amusement parks totaled 10.7 million, down less than 2% from last year's record level, and attendance at our five water parks increased 3% to 1.55 million guests. Meanwhile, average in-park guest per capita spending improved approximately 3% between years."
Cedar Fair's six amusement parks are Cedar Point, located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo; Knott's Berry Farm near Los Angeles in Buena Park, California; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom near Allentown, Pennsylvania; Valleyfair near Minneapolis/St. Paul; Worlds of Fun, located in Kansas City, Missouri; and Michigan's Adventure near Muskegon, Michigan. The Partnership's water parks are located near San Diego and in Palm Springs, California, and adjacent to Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm and Worlds of Fun. Cedar Fair also operates Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota under a management contract.
Commenting on results at the individual parks, Kinzel said, "At our flagship property, Cedar Point, the introduction of the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster led to a 3% increase in attendance to 3.3 million guests in 2003. These results once again demonstrate the drawing power of a great new thrill ride like Top Thrill Dragster. We were also very pleased with the solid results at both Valleyfair and Michigan's Adventure this past season. Attendance at Valleyfair increased 7% to 1.1 million with the successful debut of its new coaster, Steel Venom, and attendance at Michigan's Adventure improved by more than 10% to approximately 480,000 guests. However, inclement weather negatively impacted results at our other two seasonal parks in 2003. Attendance at Dorney Park totaled 1.4 million, down more than 10% from last year's record level, and Worlds of Fun was down 6% to approximately 880,000 guests. At our only year-round park, Knott's Berry Farm, attendance finished the year down 4% at 3.5 million, as tourism remained soft throughout the year in the very competitive Southern California market."
The Partnership also confirmed that it will be adding a new world-class inverted roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in late 2004. The new coaster, to be called Silver Bullet, will be the park's seventh coaster and the fifth major thrill ride added at Knott's since its acquisition by Cedar Fair in late 1997. "Silver Bullet, which is scheduled to debut on Christmas Eve 2004, will cost roughly $16 million, making it one of the largest single investments in Knott's Berry Farm's history," said Kinzel. "We remain committed to enhancing Knotts' position as one of Southern California's premier amusement park resorts, and the addition of Silver Bullet will only add to the park's already growing level of recognition in that very attractive and competitive market."
The Partnership also reported that it had completed new long-term financing arrangements in late December 2003. A private placement of $100 million was arranged to provide funds for terms of six to fifteen years at fixed rates ranging from 4.62% to 5.86%. Interest rate swaps were executed to convert these notes to variable rates averaging 0.64% over LIBOR, substantially below available bank lending rates. A new bank revolving credit agreement was also completed at the same time to provide $180 million of borrowing capacity through March 2007, of which $37.75 million was in use as of December 31, 2003.
Kinzel concluded by noting that the Partnership's 2003 yearend tax information will be processed and mailed to unitholders at the beginning of March. The same tax information will also be available to unitholders through the Partnership's corporate web site (www.cedarfair.com).
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