SeaWorld cuts 125 jobs, plans restructuring
SeaWorld is eliminating 125 positions amid a companywide restructuring.
The announcement comes a day after Orlando-based SeaWorld released second quarter financial results that showed growing revenues and attendance, impressing analysts. The company’s interim CEO had hinted cuts were coming as SeaWorld sought to save $50 million in expenses.
In a statement, a SeaWorld spokesman said the cuts were meant to position the company for “continued growth and financial success.”
The layoffs, effective Tuesday, are for salaried positions throughout SeaWorld’s theme parks across the United States and its corporate headquarters in Orlando, according to spokesman Travis Claytor.
Some of the 125 positions were vacant, although Claytor declined to say how many.
The company previously eliminated 350 positions in October.
About 4,900 full-time employees and 11,300 part-time employees worked at the company as of December 2017, according to a SeaWorld annual report.
“For those employees who will be impacted by this restructure, we are offering severance benefits and transition assistance,” the statement said. “We remain committed to providing our guests with inspiring experiences that matter and to continuing the world-class care for all our animals, including animal rescue, rehabilitation and ocean conservation efforts.”
Interim CEO John Reilly said Monday the company is cutting $50 million, although he did not provide many specifics to analysts during an earnings call.
The layoffs are part of those cost-saving efforts, Claytor said, although he would not say how much it will save.
The animal rescue team isn’t affected by cuts, he added.
The move isn’t a surprise, said Tuna Amobi, a SeaWorld analyst with CFRA Research.
“They were signaling there was going to be some drastic cost-cutting methods,” Amobi said.
The first two quarters of 2018 have brought improved finances for SeaWorld, which has been hit with years of dropping attendance, lawsuits and a public backlash from the “Blackfish” documentary that protested keeping whales in captivity.
SeaWorld’s stock rose by 17 percent Monday as the company announced that revenues and attendance both jumped 5 percent in the second quarter ending in June compared with the same time frame in 2017. Attendance reached 6.4 million and revenue hit $392 million.
Reilly also told analysts the company was positioning itself to reach up to $500 million in adjusted earnings by 2020.
Revenue and attendance can be unpredictable, which is why it’s easier for companies to control their finances by making cuts, Amobi said.
SeaWorld appears to be making a turnaround, the analyst said.
“Whether that’s sustainable remains to be seen,” Amobi said. “So far so good, is what one might say.”
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