SeaWorld shares sink as profit forecasts swim in much lower than expectations

Joseph Millis
Sarah Michelle Gellar Visits SeaWorld San Diego
What's that, Flipper, SeaWorld's profit estimates are lower than expected? (Source: Getty)

Embattled SeaWorld yesterday forecast profit for the year that was below analysts’ estimates, sending shares towards the bottom of the ocean.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) will reach $335m (£231m) to $365m in 2016 on an adjusted basis, the theme-park operator said in a statement. Analysts were projecting $378.9m, the average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The Orlando, Florida-based SeaWorld has come under pressure from animal-rights activists and has pledged to stop breeding killer whales – orcas – and to phase out performances by the sea creatures. The theme park has struggled with declining attendance and share performance since the 2013 release of Blackfish – a documentary film about the controversy over captive orcas.

The forecast overshadowed a first-quarter loss that was narrower than analysts’ estimates. Leaving out some items, the loss was 56 cents a share, compared with the average projection of 71 cents. Sales rose 2.6 per cent to $220.2m, compared with the $217.7m average estimate.

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