In the first earnings report since its initial public offering, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., parent company of Busch Gardens Tampa, on Wednesday said it lost $40.4 million in the quarter compared with a $45.1 million loss in the same period a year ago.
The per-share loss for the first quarter was 49 cents compared with a 55 cents-a-share loss for the year-ago period. The company generated a 12 percent increase in revenue for the quarter, to $238.6 million.
Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of Sea World Entertainment, said the company customarily posts first- and fourth-quarter losses because they are off seasons, but he added that the current report indicates promise for the rest of the year.
“This (revenue) improvement was primarily from a 10 percent increase in total revenue per capita driven by the ongoing execution of our pricing and yield management studies,” Atchison said.
“We are excited about the success of our IPO and look forward to 2013 and beyond as we continue to focus on growing our globally recognized parks, brands and intellectual property to drive revenue and free cash flow growth.”
Sea World does not break down financial or attendance data by individual attractions.
First-quarter attendance for all SeaWorld theme parks rose 2 percent, to 3.5 million, benefiting from the timing of New Year’s Eve and Easter.
The company said total revenue per capita increased 10 percent, to $69.19.
In-park per capita spending increased from $23.17 to $24.63 over the previous year’s quarter because of improved economic conditions, price increases and more offerings.
SeaWorld defined in-park spending as food, merchandise and other revenue divided by total attendance.