Six Flags Entertainment Corp.'s net income tumbled 52 percent in the third quarter, as the death of a roller coaster rider in July weighed on overall attendance growth for the amusement-park operator and contributed to a sharp increase in expenses.
Management noted that attendance, revenue and profit were somewhat suppressed in the quarter following the July 19 fatality at Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington.
The Grand Prairie, Texas, company's latest results also included $3 million set aside to cover litigation costs related to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Rosa Esparza. The woman fell 75 feet to her death while riding the 14-story Texas Giant roller coaster, which reopened last month.
The company, which operates 18 amusement parks in North America, said attendance in the July-September period rose 2 percent to 11.8 million guests.
Spending by attendees rose 2 percent to $41.27 per person. Admissions per capita also rose 2 percent to $23.96. In-park revenue per capita also grew 2 percent to $17.31.
All told, revenue grew 4 percent to $504.5 million from $485.1 million in the three months ended Sept. 30.
Even so, Six Flags reported net income of $120.4 million, or $1.22 per share, compared with $253 million, or $2.23 per share, a year earlier.
The latest quarter also included a nearly eightfold increase in income tax expense, which vaulted to $86.4 million from $11 million.
The third-quarter results fell short of analysts' consensus forecast for earnings of $1.69 per share on $511.3 million in revenue, according to FactSet.
Six Flags shares rose 4 cents to $35.33 in afternoon trading Wednesday. Shares are up about 16 percent this year.