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Attendance at Cedar Fair theme parks rises during Q3 2011

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Cedar Fair has revealed that attendance its North American theme parks increased by 2 percent during the first 9 months of 2011, continuing the firm's recovery.

With visitors number up, revenue also grew by 4 percent in the period up to Labor Day (September 5) to $857 million. 19.1 million visitors passed through the turnstiles of its chain of amusement parks, spending an average of $40.10 per head. In July, Cedar Fair reported that much of its growth during 2011 is down to the strong performance of its parks in California (including Knott's Berry Farm and California's Great America).

Dick Kinzel, who will retire as CEO of Cedar Fair in January 2012, said of the financial results: "The summer of 2011 is proving to be another strong operating season for Cedar Fair,Our new rides and attractions, including WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall thrill ride introduced at our four largest parks, continued to attract guests during the peak vacation month of August. Our creative marketing efforts and pricing initiatives also continued to drive growth, particularly at Canada's Wonderland, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island and California's Great America."

Cedar Fair recently appointed Matthew Ouimet, the man widely credited with turning around the performance of the Disneyland Resort, as its new CEO. Ouimet will take over control of Cedar Fair's 17 water parks and amusement parks across North America, after Kinzel was forced out by shareholder Q Investments.

The company has struggled with a heavy debt burden for a number of years, and saw shareholders reject a planned takeover by asset manager Apollo Management LP in 2010. Despite increasing attendance at its parks by more than 8 percent during 2010, Cedar Fair still made a net loss of $32 million.


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