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  1. Jack Falfas has been awarded $2 million plus by court for removal from previous job at Cedar Fair. The new court order vacates the ruling of the arbitration panel which ordered Falfas returned to his job. The court cites case law which establishes job return orders are not allowed. Stacy Froley is quoted by the Sandusky Register in response to the breaking news. Froley would not comment as to the economic damage CF must ultimately pay Falfas. However, the court did order payment from the time of Falfas departure til the end of his contract term in November 2012. Falfas or CF can appeal the decision. While reported in the Sandusky Register the news has not, as yet, been posted to their website. However, I have called to verify the story with the Register, and requested they post this story. I had the pleasure of having the story read to me over the phone as a verification of the following report: http://geaugalaketoday.freepowerboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2564 Hat tip, and congratulations to, CoasterDad at Geauga Lake Today for web breaking this story. Great catch! UPDATE: The SanduskyRegister.com site should have the full story posted no later than Sunday afternoon. Perhaps earlier.
  2. Gems from today's Analyst presentation in New York: 2012 Distribution will be $1.60, payable in four equal quarterly installments. 2013 Distribution guidance is still somewhat up in the air, however, it is expected to increase. Loan covenants are no longer an issue as FUN has outgrown the covenants and are free to award distributions as they see fit. FUN's goal is to continue increasing distributions across time. Distribution increases will be a function of increasing earnings following the next couple of years spent restoring the distribution to historic levels. Great America Deal--Brian and general council worked to rationalize a 35 year lease extension featuring a generous cash payment to offset disruption costs. Only park located on leased land. Had a great year, but not quite a record year. Water park expansions are profitable and quick. Coaster costs are not, generally, as productive a capital investment. To protect the base coaster investments are often required. Growth projected at 4% based upon industry trends. Yield management borrowed from the hotel industry will assist in achieving the growth. Refreshment of resorts will be a priority in order to maintain and grow the family market that stay on park longer and spend more money. This is a significant departure from Kinzel management. Lights and Fireworks are the method to keep people on park after dark. This is the only method successful in the Theme Park industry to extend stays. Thus you keep the guests for Dinner and increase on park revenues. Price increases at parks are expected to be in the neighborhood of inflation this coming season. Growth will be achieved by increasing earnings from on park sales, cementing the season pass holder relationship, exploring a subscription based model of passes, pre-selling more on park activities in order to increase day of visit spending (such as pre-pay parking and meals), entering partnerships and/or sponsorships, reducing ticketing costs and leakage by eliminating or restricting third party ticketing sales, and growing attendance. Less reliance on revenue sharing will be a hallmark. Revenue enhancements such as FastPass programs will expand after having been tested last season. Yield increases are expected to drop significant sums to the bottom line. The presentation featured graphs identifying individual park revenues/profitability and thus has increased transparency to a great extent. New measurement and evaluation metrics will be imported from the broader hospitality industry including ADR and yield management practices. Best practices will be implemented from the cruise industry. Best practices will be shared across the system from the individual parks. Incremental tuck-in acquisition opportunities will continue to potentially play a role in growth. However, at this time no specific acquisitions are under active consideration. Mr. Ouimett expressed an interest in the write-up of Carnival Cruise Line by one of the analysts. Ouimett stated "That is a lesson in do the right thing." This suggests Ouimett will invest the proper funds in maintenance and safety training. Capital investments in new attractions are expected to remain at the 9% of revenue peg. Maintenance investments/costs are also expected to remain in the 9% of revenue range. Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed—I have written it on the fly as the conference was taking place.
  3. Cedar Fair will see it's largest unitholder reduce its position over the next couple of years. Q Investments plans to sell 3 million of its 10 million unit holdings, subject to certain conditions and market realities, according to filings with the SEC. For a fuller story please see: http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2011/12/14/Mutual-fund-to-sharply-cut-holdings-in-Cedar-Fair.html
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