U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 14 mins

Seaworld 1Q loss narrows as customers spend more

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Seaworld Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday said its first-quarter loss narrowed by nearly 11 percent thanks to a 12 percent jump in revenue.

The theme park operator, best known for its water shows featuring killer whales and dolphins, posted a net loss of $40.4 million, or 49 cents per share, for the first three months of the year. That was down from a loss of $45.1 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Seaworld, which held its initial public offering in April, said revenue rose to $238.6 million, from $212.4 million in 2012's first quarter. Admission revenue was up 14 percent to $152.4 million, while food, merchandise and other revenue gained 9 percent to $86.2 million.

Costs and expenses increased at a slower pace than revenue, rising 5 percent to $274.5 million.

President and CEO Jim Atchison said the increased revenue reflected new pricing strategies.

Total revenue per capita rose by 10 percent, to $68.19 from $62.15. Attendance edged up 2 percent to 3.5 million, from 3.4 million last year.

For the full year of 2013, the company expects revenue in the range of $1.46 billion to $1.49 billion.

Seaworld shares closed Wednesday trading down 1 percent at $37.73. That still reflects a gain of 40 percent since its IPO on April 19. In aftermarket trading following the release of the earnings report, the stock slipped 34 cents to $37.39.