Cedar Fair LP, which three years ago saw the price of its stock dip to around $6 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, on Wednesday posted a record-high share price during trading and closed on a record high.
The publicly traded company, which owns seven water parks and 11 amusement parks, including Cedar Point in Sandusky, reached a high of $36.48 per unit shortly before 1 p.m. and closed at $35.80 per unit. Its previous high was $36.01 per unit on March 10, 2004.
Cedar Fair, which operates as a master limited partnership, calls its stock shares "membership units."
The company's stock opened trading Wednesday at $35.30 a share. The day's trading volume for Cedar Fair, which trades under the ticker symbol "FUN," was 304,972 shares. Average volume is 230,097 shares.
Stacy Frole, director of investor relations for Cedar Fair, said company officials were gratified.
"We were definitely pleased. Obviously, you can't control the market and the first focus is on our operations," she said.
But investors may be responding to the company's rising dividend projections and company estimates that it will post a third consecutive record year of operating income at year's end.
Cedar Fair is on pace to pay out a dividend (or unit distribution) of $1.60 per share for 2012 and it is confident of paying a record dividend of $2 or more in 2013.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to delivering on our operations, and our teams here in the parks do a great job of that," Ms. Frole said.
Earlier this month, Cedar Fair announced that revenues for its regular May-August summer season that ended Labor Day rose 5 percent in 2012 to $881 million. The company experienced a 4 percent rise -- to $41.74 -- in average in-park spending by customers.
Company leaders say 2013 could be better, as new e-commerce initiatives are fully operational and customers become more acquainted with premium options, such as its Fast Lane program that allows those who pay extra the ability to go to the head of the line at certain rides.
Cedar Fair will debut a $26 million "winged" roller coaster, the GateKeeper, at its flagship Cedar Point park for 2013. Analysts say the coaster, to be at the entrance, could have a significant positive impact on attendance.
By Jon Chavez - The Blade, Toledo (MCT)
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