March 21, 2000
New York, NY -- Premier Parks Inc. (NYSE: PKS and PKSPrA) announced today its results of operations for the fourth quarter and full year 1999.
Revenues in 1999 were $927.0 million. Pro forma for the acquisition of Six Flags and Walibi, both of which closed at the end of the first quarter of 1998, revenues for 1998 would have been $817.0 million. Revenues for 1999 increased by $110.0 million, or 13.5%, over the pro forma 1998 revenues. Operating costs and expenses, including depreciation and other non-cash charges, were $774.9 million in 1999, as compared to $725.3 million pro forma for 1998. Excluding depreciation and non-cash compensation expense, total cash operating costs and expenses were $608.0 million in 1999, or 65.6% of revenues, as compared to $581.8 million pro forma in 1998, or 71.2% of 1998 revenues.
Adjusted EBITDA, including the Company's share of the EBITDA from the partnership parks, for 1999 was $363.2 million as compared to $258.9 million pro forma in the prior year, representing a $104.3 million, or 40.3 percent, increase in adjusted EBITDA for 1999 over the pro forma prior year results.
"Our 1999 operating performance was outstanding," stated Kieran E. Burke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Premier Parks. "We achieved exceptional growth - a single year increase in EBITDA of over $104 million with over $90 million of that growth coming on a same park basis. That growth demonstrates the strength of our business - the power of our Six Flags brand and the appeal of our licensed characters, the enduring performance capacity of our major market parks in a broadly diversified geographic portfolio, the growth potential afforded by expansion possibilities at a number of those parks, and our ability to improve operating margins to drive increased profitability. We achieved tremendous same park growth in 1999. Our wholly-owned parks (excluding Six Flags Marine World, Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Over Texas and the four parks acquired in 1999) experienced an attendance increase of 3.8 million people - an increase of 13% over the prior year on a same park basis. The three parks acquired during the 1999 season also performed ahead of our expectations.
Within this powerful total performance are several exceptional specific park numbers. The four parks rebranded in 1999 as Six Flags parks (including Marine World) achieved a full year attendance increase of 1.2 million, 21.2 percent, park level revenue growth of $43.2 million, 30.7 percent, and per capita spending growth of 7.8 percent.
At the wholly-owned original Six Flags parks, park-level revenues were up 6.5 percent. Six Flags St. Louis achieved an attendance increase of 503,000, and a revenue increase of $8.8 million, reflecting the strong reaction to the addition of a new water park at the facility. This revenue growth resulted in a park-level cash flow increase of $11.8 million, demonstrating the profitability of adding complementary attractions to existing operations.
In addition, our European parks performed quite well, with 1999 attendance up over 700,000.
Reported revenues of Premier on a same park basis rose $86.1 million as compared to pro forma revenues for the prior year. EBITDA from these operations (after corporate overhead) rose $76.4 million on this $86.1 million increase, reflecting the excellent progress we have achieved in continued expense reduction and control.
For 2000, we are rebranding four additional parks - Geauga Lake, our park in the Cleveland, Ohio market, which will become Six Flags Ohio; Riverside Park, our park in the New England market, which will become Six Flags New England; Walibi Flevo, our park located outside Amsterdam, Holland, which will become Six Flags Holland, and Reino Aventura, our Mexico City park, which will become Six Flags Mexico. The rebranding of these two foreign parks represents our initial use of our long-term license agreement with Warner Bros., entered into in November 1999, which gives us exclusive theme park usage in Europe and Latin and South America of the Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network and DC Comics characters. Given the strong year in 1999 of our four parks rebranded for that season, we anticipate strong growth at the newly rebranded parks."
Mr. Burke continued, "Our capital and marketing programs for 2000 are now being implemented. In addition to the rebranding of four major market parks, we are adding a major water park to Six Flags Great Adventure, and numerous rides and attractions to other parks. All of our capital projects are expected to be completed on a timely basis. While it is still early in our pre-season activities, the results to date are encouraging. We are ahead of pace to achieve our targets in season pass sales and group sales bookings.
Following the 1999 season, in addition to entering into an international license agreement with Warner Bros., we acquired Warner Bros. Movie World Germany, a theme park located near Dusseldorf with 1999 attendance of approximately 1.8 million, entered into a joint venture with Warner Bros. to develop and manage a new Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park scheduled to open in Madrid, Spain in 2000 and successfully concluded our new $1.2 billion bank loan syndication. We now have no meaningful near term maturities in our debt structure, with no maturing debt until 2006."
Mr. Burke also announced that the Company will seek shareholder approval at its upcoming annual meeting to change its name to Six Flags, Inc. "The Six Flags brand is the dominant brand in the regional theme park business" noted Mr. Burke. "The name has come to symbolize the highest standard of theme park excitement. Moreover, the Six Flags name ranked as the number one brand among teenagers in an independent nationwide survey. This name change will align our entire company with the brand. Over the next several years, all of our parks will become associated with the brand. This will enable us to offer a more unified platform to our sponsorship and promotional partners.
This change is especially timely - next year marks the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the very first Six Flags park, and the birth of the Six Flags brand."
Premier Parks is the world's largest regional theme park company, with thirty-five parks in markets throughout North America and Europe.