SeaWorld Entertainment Shares Drop 35 Percent

SeaWorld Entertainment reported that the company’s revenue was down 5 percent over the same period in 2013

The company that owns SeaWorld San Diego disclosed a drop in park attendance and expected revenue Wednesday, triggering a 35 percent drop in shares for the company’s stock.

Fewer people are visiting the parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a fact the company discussed earlier this year.

On Wednesday however, the company reported that it missed second-quarter earnings estimates and projected a decline in revenue for the full year, CNBC reports.

In a report to its shareholders, SeaWorld Entertainment reported that the company’s revenue for the first half of 2014 was $617.4 million, a decrease of $32.5 million, or 5 percent when compared to the same period in 2013.

"Its stock was hit really hard today, it lost nearly a third of its value so that shows investors are worried about the company's future," said Alan Gin, University of San Diego Economics Professor.

Gin said that in comparison, a good gain for a stock in one year would be considered 10 percent.

It’s been a challenging year for the local theme park.

The park has launched a new publicity campaign to combat the effects of the documentary “Blackfish” and its management lobbied California state lawmakers after a proposed bill that would ban using killer whales as performers was discussed then shelved.

In June, dozens of riders stranded for hours hundreds of feet off the ground in the park’s iconic SkyTower ride. Then, in July, a controversial anti-SeaWorld ad was unveiled in time to greet Comic-Con crowds.

Don’t forget the recent decision for Southwest and SeaWorld to end to a 25-year marketing partnership. with Southwest.

The company cited publicity “surrounding proposed legislation” in California as one of the reasons park attendance was down.

"In addition to missing the earnings by such a large amount, the fact that the company acknowledged the protests are having an effect is troubling to the investing community," Gin said.

The report also listed other factors including competing theme parks, a new attraction being delayed and a late start to summer break in many key markets.

While revenue for the year to date has dropped 4.3 percent, CEO and President Jim Atchison credited the timing of Easter and favorable weather for helping increase park attendance in the second quarter.

In comparison, CNBC reports that Disney saw an 8 percent increase in revenue from its parks and resorts division in June.

The company will also launch a share repurchase program beginning Jan. 1, 2015 as well as work with an international entertainment and media company to develop parks in Pan-Asia, India and Russia.

Atchison described the latter as “exciting opportunities to extend our brands beyond our domestic borders" in the shareholder report.

Some analysts have projected the stock price will double, Gin said.

"If you're a gambler, if you think this may be a temporary thing, this might be a good time to pick up some SeaWorld at a very low price," Gin said.

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