23 Mar 2009

Sandusky / USA: Cedar Fair – where does the road lead?


Several things attracted attention: on the one hand the company settled in Sandusky/Ohio has hired a top quality partner in Merrill Lynch, in order to reduce the debts of the company by around $200 million through sales in the next three years. To this end, sales of unused areas near “Canada’s Wonderland” (near Toronto) and in Cleveland are planned. Furthermore, the list of planned sales contains “California’s Great America” in Santa Clara (where according to company details negotiations have been going on with the owners of the famous San Francisco 49ers for some time now) – a leisure park pearl, which was acquired in 2006 in a package with further parks from Paramount –, “Worlds of Fun” in Kansas City / Missouri, and “Valleyfair” in Shakopee / Minnesota. On the other hand Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel has recently sold 167,900 shares of the company from his own account. The stock was listed at $8.63 on 13th March 09, the 52 week high on the other hand was $25 and the 52 week low was marked recently at $5.75. Kinzel’s sale of his shares will surely have psychological consequences and further fuel the uncertainty about the future of the company. For the business year which has just gone the turnover of the company was however increased to $996 million (compared to $987 million in 2007), while a profit of $5.7 million was generated for 2008 compared to a loss of $4.5 million in 2007. Cedar Fair owns and operates eleven leisure parks, six outdoor water parks, an indoor water park and five hotels. (eap)