ORLANDO -- SeaWorld Entertainment's stock was down almost 10 percent Thursday morning after the company noted that the first quarter could be a tough one.
The company said it had attendance softness in the first quarter, which it blamed on a drop in international visitation -- particularly from Brazil -- and bad weather.
The bad news -- combined with SeaWorld's acknowledgment that some managers had employees pose as animal rights activists to spy on opponents -- overshadowed a fourth-quarter earnings report that showed signs of improvement.
The company posted an adjusted loss of $9.6 million, or 11 cents per share. The results improved from a year ago, when the loss
was $17.8 million, but they slightly missed analysts' expectations.
SeaWorld generated $267.9 million in fourth-quarter revenue, compared to $264.5 million the previous year.
Attendance increased by about 43,000 visitors, or 1 percent. Visitation declined in Texas, where the company said changes to its Fun Card and "a lack of significant competitive offerings" dampened attendance.
Last week, Orlando-based SeaWorld announced a management shakeup that includes the departures of Chief Parks Operations Officer Dan Brown and Chief Zoological Officer Brad Andrews. Those changes become effective April 1.
"The leadership changes we announced last week are another important step on our roadmap to stabilization and growth," Manby said in a press release.
Revenues for the full year still declined slightly to $1.37 billion, compared to $1.38 billion the previous year. Profit was $49.1 million and adjusted profit was $63.9 million. The previous year, SeaWorld earned profit of $49.9 million and adjusted profit of $59.4 million.