18 Feb 2021

USA: Cedar Fair Expects Growth & Value Creation in Second Half of 2021 and Long-term

“We are optimistic that levels of attendance at our parks and resort properties will significantly improve in 2021, particularly as COVID-19 vaccines become broadly available over the next few months. In anticipation of improving demand, we are poised to resume normal operations, particularly during our seasonally stronger back half of the year. […]”, says Cedar Fair President Richard A. Zimmerman in relation to the presentation of Cedar Fair’s financial year results 2020.

Cedar Fair suspended operations at its parks beginning on March 14, 2020, in response to the spread of COVID-19 and local government mandates. In summer, the company resumed partial operations at ten of its 13 properties on a staggered basis in accordance with local and state guidelines. Not allowed to open for park operations, however, due to the strict restrictions in the US state of California, was Knott’s Berry Farm, which is normally open year-round. For the full year ended Dec 31st, 2020, net revenues of Cedar Fair Group totaled 182 million US Dollars (approx. 151 million Euros) versus 1.47 billion US Dollars (approx. 1.22 billion Euros) in 2019. The company sees the decrease in net revenues as a direct result of a 25.3 million-visit decrease in attendance and a decrease in out-of-park revenues. However, it could record higher in-park per capita spending on food, merchandise and games – a trend also noticed in European leisure attractions (read more in our Park Report 2020/21, to be published in our upcoming March/April magazine issue).

For 2020, Cedar Fair’s venue operating costs and expenses totaled 484 million US Dollars (401 million Euros) compared with 991 million US Dollars (822 million Euros) in 2019. Nonetheless, Cedar Fair had a total liquidity of 736 million US Dollars at Dec 31st, 2020, some 377 million US Dollars of which were cash on hand and another 359 million US Dollars undrawn capacity under the company’s revolving credit facility. Overall, the group is positive about the upcoming season. Zimmerman adds: “Although we cannot predict how quickly attendance will reach the record levels achieved pre-pandemic, we remain optimistic in the company’s prospects for growth and value creation in the second half of 2021 and long-term. Cedar Fair’s resilient business model, rigorous cost management and decades of experience with maximizing free cash flow during periods of demand give us the ability to effectively navigate the current macro environment and its challenges. […].” (eap)