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SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment triples profit in 2012

SeaWorld Orlando killer whales

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment posted a huge increase in profits during 2012, more than tripling the figure for the previous year.

The firm, now formally known as SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., made a profit of $77.4 million on revenue of $1.4 billion. This compares to 2011's profit figure of just $19.1 million, providing a boost ahead of a planning Initial Public Offering this spring. The firm runs all of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens-branded parks in the US, as well as Sesame Place and the Aquatica water parks.

SeaWorld hopes to raise $100 million from the IPO, which would enable it to continue its aggressive expansion plans of recent years. SeaWorld Orlando is currently installing the ambitious Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride, while a third Aquatica park, Aquatica San Diego, is due to open on June 1, 2013.

Private equity firm Blackstone acquired the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks through its $2.7 billion takeover of Busch Entertainment Corp. in 2009. It is expected to retain a controlling stake in SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, although there have been rumors of rival bids.

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