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SeaWorld's Earnings Fall 28 Percent

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings fell 28 percent from a year ago as attendance to its theme parks fell.

Shares of the Florida-based company fell 10 percent in morning trading Wednesday

SeaWorld has been battling negative publicity surrounding its treatment of killer whales after "Blackfish," a documentary that aired last year, suggested its treatment of the mammals provokes violent behavior in them and has led to the death of trainers.


Attendance to its theme parks fell 5.6 percent to 8.4 million in the third quarter from 8.9 million in the same period a year ago, SeaWorld said.

The Orlando, Florida-based company said it earned $87.2 million, or $1 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $120.7 million, or $1.34 per share, a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $1.01 per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.13 per share.

Revenue fell 7.9 percent to $495.8 million in the period. That number beat the $494.2 million analysts expected, according to Zacks.

Shares of SeaWorld dropped $1.90, or 10.2 percent, to $16.70 in morning trading Wednesday. Shares of SeaWorld had been down 31 percent through Tuesday's close since its initial public offering in April 2013. They have fallen 36 percent since the beginning of the year.