Archive for November, 2010

Kinzel points out he’s nearing retirement

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From the Sandusky Register

Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, says the latest corporate drama at his company could be much ado about not very much.

As the Sandusky Register and other newspapers have reported, Cedar Fair’s biggest investor, Q Funding, has filed SEC documents calling for a shareholder vote on whether Cedar Fair should find a new board chairman while keeping Kinzel aboard as CEO.

Kinzel, 70, points out that he’s scheduled to leave around the end of 2011, anyway, and the company is actively is looking for a successor.

“I’m only going to be here one more year,” he said. “I think the process will kind of take care of itself.”

When we spoke to Kinzel, we asked how the political changes in Washington, D.C., including the Republican takeover of the U.S. House, would affect his company. I’m afraid his answer won’t generate a big page one story for me.

“I don’t think that’s going to affect us at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “We go with who’s in control. We just operate in accordance with the rules.”

— Tom Jackson

Electrical blaze at CP, 50 evacuated

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

The Sandusky Fire Department responded to Cedar Point just before 3 p.m. Wednesday to a transformer fire.

Smoke could be seen from the park’s webcam at Top Thrill Dragster. Firefighters had to evacuate 50 people from nearby buildings. No major fire damage occurred, but there was smoke damage.

Ocean Motion stays put at CP

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

Monday brought good news for fans of Ocean Motion, Cedar Point’s pirate-themed swinging ship ride. It isn’t going away after all.

After failing to sell the ride, Cedar Point officials decided it shouldn’t go the way of the Demon Drop and other rides that have left the park as new rides come in.

The new location of Ocean Motion will be where the Demon Drop used to be, toward the front of the park, near the midway carousel, a park spokesman said.

Its former location, near the beach, will be home to the new towering WindSeeker thrill ride.

Here are some fast facts about Ocean Motion:

  • Pirate-themed boat ride that swings back and forth.
  • Manufactured by HUSS Park Attractions, Bremen, Germany
  • Debuted in 1981 next to the beach in the northeast part of Cedar Point.
  • Seated 54 people. More than 19.5 million people enjoyed this ride through the years.
  • Put up for sale in summer 2010 for $179,000.
  • Moved in November 2010 to make room for new WindSeeker ride.
  • Ocean Motion will now be located at the front of the park where the former Demon Drop welcomed visitors.

Ocean Motion will be setting sail from a new port next year

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Cedar Point - Ocean Motion

Cedar Point announced earlier today, through Facebook, that Ocean Motion will be staying at the park next year.  Although it will not remain in it’s old location due to the construction of WindSeeker, Ocean Motion will be moving to the old Demon Drop site, which has sat empty this past season.

Cedar Point - Old Demon Drop Location

Cedar Point - Old Demon Drop Location

Fans seem to be very happy about this decision, and so are we!

Cedar Fair seeks Kinzel successor

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

Cedar Fair says it has launched the hunt for a new CEO to replace Dick Kinzel, 70, who has run the company since 1986.

Tuesday, Kinzel said his employment agreement ends on Jan. 2, 2012, and Cedar Fair’s board is working to find a successor.

“As is the case with any public company, this is a confidential process that is expected to include both internal and external candidates,” Kinzel said. “Out of fairness to all involved, we will have no further comment until we are ready to announce a new CEO.”

Cedar Fair spokeswoman Stacy Frole said she can’t offer a timetable on when a new CEO will be announced.

Also Tuesday, Cedar Fair announced its 2010 third-quarter and nine-month results, with attendance and revenues both up through October. Promotions were also awarded to four company executives.

Net revenues for the first nine months of 2010 are up $37.4 million from the same months in 2009. Last year’s revenue in that period was $810.5 million; this year, it’s $847.9 million.

Through Sept. 25, Cedar Fair’s amusement parks had 19.8 million visitors, up 6 percent — about 1 million people — from the same period last year, Kinzel said.

Results through October appear even better. Based on preliminary results, attendance is up 8 percent — about 1.6 million people — through the first 10 months, with revenues going from $914 million to $974 million.

Cedar Fair officials also said they plan to resume quarterly cash distributions in 2011, beginning with 8 cents per limited partner unit in March 2011. A total of about 35 cents will likely be paid next year, they said.

The company had previously announced it would pay 25 cents per unit in December.

Cedar Fair also announced three new executive vice presidents Tuesday.

Those include Peter Crage, formerly corporate vice president and chief financial officer; H. Philip Bender, formerly regional vice president since June 2006 and, prior to that, vice president and general manager of Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo.; and Richard A. Zimmerman, who had been regional vice president since June 2007.

Those employees will handle more of Kinzel’s day-to-day duties, which Kinzel said will provide him more time to focus on growing the business and developing the company’s executives.

David R. Hoffman, formerly vice president of corporate tax, is now vice president of corporate finance and tax.

Cedar Fair’s biggest investor, Dallas area investment banker Geoffrey Raynor, has filed a request with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, asking for a special meeting of investors to consider two proposals: Bring in a new chairman of the board and have Kinzel relinquish that post to concentrate on his CEO duties; and, secondly, make an increase in cash distributions a bigger priority than paying off the company’s debt.

Raynor’s company, Q Funding III, is still awaiting SEC approval of a proxy statement that would allow Raynor to begin his campaign for the changes, a spokesman said Tuesday.

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