SeaWorld Stock Tanks As 'Blackfish' Controversy Cuts Into Profit

08/13/2014 11:35 am ET | Updated Oct 13, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) fell Wednesday after the theme park operator reported second-quarter profit and sales that missed Wall Street expectations and cut its outlook for the year.

The Orlando, Florida-based company also said it believes attendance during the period was hurt by negative publicity surrounding its treatment of killer whales, which are trained to perform tricks. A documentary last year called "Blackfish" suggested that the company's treatment of the killer whales provokes violent behavior from them, which in turn has led to the death of trainers.

On Wednesday, the company said promotions and discounts also hurt revenue in the April-June period. It cut its sales guidance for the year — it now expects revenue to drop 6 to 7 percent — and plans to cut costs.

For the three months that ended on June 30, the company reported net income of $37.3 million, or 43 cents per share. Analysts expected 60 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. A year ago, SeaWorld reported a loss of $15.9 million, or 18 cents per share.

Revenue declined 1.5 percent to $405.2 million. Analysts expected $447.7 million.

SeaWorld shares dropped $8.41, or 30 percent, to $19.74 in midday trading. The stock is down 31 percent this year.

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