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Cedar Fair shares hits year-long high as performance improves

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Shares in Cedar Fair hit a 52-week high on July 18, 2012 as investor confidence in the theme park chain's performance continues to improve.

Cedar Fair, which operates parks across North America, 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.

However, attendance at the firm's parks began to improve during 2011. Cedar Fair also appointed Matt Ouimet, the man widely credited with turning around the performance of the Disneyland Resort, as its new CEO. The company's shares hit a high of $32.95 on Wednesday, before dropping back to $32.55.

The improved performance at Cedar Fair is likely to free up cash to spend on new rides and attractions, with the goal of sustaining the attendance increases. The chain invested some $28 million on installing the Leviathan roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland earlier this year, and plans to add a new Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Rider coaster to flagship park Cedar Point are at advanced stage.

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