SeaWorld shares tank after a whale of an earnings miss

August 13, 2014, 2:06 PM UTC
Killer whale life spans
Trainers work with Orcas during a show at the Shamu Up Close attraction at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 7, 2014. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Photo by Orlando Sentinel MCT—Getty Images

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment tanked Wednesday after the entertainment company said it would cut costs and lowered its revenue outlook after its second-quarter earnings came in far below expectations.

At the start of trading SeaWorld’s (SEAS) stock price fell harder than Shamu after a bad jump, closing the day down over 30%. Before Wednesday’s open, SeaWorld’s share price was already down some 20% over the past year.

Revenue for the entertainment company totaled $405.2 million for the quarter, down from $411.3 in the second quarter of last year. This came despite attendance of 6.6 million visitors, an increase of 0.3% over last year. The theme-park company said it expects its full-year revenue to fall by as much as 7%.

On the company’s earnings conference call CEO Jim Atchison said executives were “disappointed” with the quarter’s results. He mentioned a few reasons for the struggles last quarter, including a later school calendar and some negative media attention.

Blackfish, a film released last year, detailed alleged animal rights violations by the company. A number of musical acts have pulled out of schedule performances at SeaWorld due to concerns.

Also, the company cited “pressures related to recent media attention surrounding proposed legislation in the state of California,” referring to a proposed study on the impact of captivity on marine mammals.

Though the scandals were mentioned in the conference call, the general feeling was that the bad media would eventually pass, and it would have relatively little impact on the company’s long-term growth.

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