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SeaWorld Shares Rally After Comeback Quarter

SeaWorld Shares Rally After Comeback Quarter

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) reported strong earnings, increased attendance and future initiatives Monday. The positive report is pivotal, especially in light of controversy over the company's treatment of orcas. 

What Happened

According to the second-quarter data, total revenue increased 4.9 percent over Q2 2017, totaling $391.9 million. Net income was $22.7 million versus a net loss of $175.9 million last year. First half data demonstrates a revenue increase of 8.7 percent and a net loss of $40.1 million against a $237-million loss last year.

"We are pleased with our strong second quarter financial results and the continued momentum we see in the business," said interim CEO John Reilly. "The results were driven by our new strategic pricing strategies, new marketing and communications initiatives and the positive reception of our new rides, attractions and events.”

Why It’s Important

Since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” SeaWorld has experienced strong pushback on claims regarding its treatment of both killer whales and trainers. Since the documentary, the company has further developed wildlife conservation techniques while working on new marketing strategies in an effort to mend its image.

The company suffered significant attendance drops partly due to bad publicity from "Blackfish," but is gaining momentum, the Orlando Sentinel quoted Reilly as saying on the earnings call. 

SeaWorld reported an attendance surge of 4.8 percent to 6.4 million guests in Q2 and a 0.7-percent increase in guests to 9.6 million people in the first half of 2018.

“We are particularly pleased with our second quarter attendance growth, which more than offset the negative impacts from unfavorable weather across several of our markets in the quarter and the earlier timing of the Easter holiday in 2018, which benefited the first quarter at the expense of the second quarter," Reilly said.

What’s Next

SeaWorld said it plans to spend $150 million annually on new shows, rides or events in each park. These additions include the new Electric Ocean event at SeaWorld parks and the Summer Nights event at Busch Gardens locations.

SeaWorld shares soared 16 percent before the bell Monday and were up 18.11 percent at $24.95 at the time of publication. 

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