As it reported year-over-year drops in third-quarter revenue and profit Tuesday, SeaWorld Entertainment said it is aggressively cutting costs.
SeaWorld generated $485.3 million in revenue during the third quarter, compared to $496.9 million the previous year.
Net income was $65.7 million, or $0.77 per diluted share. That compares with net income of $98.0 million, or $1.14 per share, a year ago. The results missed analysts’ estimates.
Overall, attendance was relatively flat. Visitation at the company’s Florida park locations increased 1.3 percent in the third quarter. SeaWorld attributed that to new attractions.
“The introduction of several new exciting rides and attractions – including Mako (At SeaWorld) and Cobra’s Curse (at Busch Gardens in Tampa) – is driving attendance and season pass sales,” Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby said in a press release.
SeaWorld said the attendance jump from those rides “more than offset a decline in attendance from Latin America, an overall softness in the Orlando market and the impact of Hurricane Hermine.”
Without the Latin America impact, SeaWorld said, attendance in Florida would have increased 4.0 percent.
Revenue per person declined by 2 percent. Much of the decline results in more guest concentration at the company’s Aquatica water parks, which cost less than the theme parks.
SeaWorld says it has implemented a “cost optimization program” that will cut costs by $65 million and result in a net savings of $40 million through 2018.
In March, SeaWorld said it would abandon breeding its signature killer whales in a bid to reshape its image, a dramatic shift as heavy public scrutiny in recent years pressured attendance. The shift won’t happen quickly – the company has nearly 30 killer whales, one of which is pregnant, and SeaWorld says they typically live up to 50 years.
Also, in September, SeaWorld unveiled plans for cause-based entertainment and a new virtual-reality ride as it seeks to move on from its highly scrutinized theatrical shows featuring killer whales.