Seaworld Surrendered By Mainland Developer After Default

China's Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co.'s subsidiary, Sun Wise Co., was forced to give up its shares on a very lofty stock--SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.--after it defaulted on loans. Bloomberg revealed that the Chinese firm gave its shares over to a securities agent after the loan debacle, effectively surrendering its hold on the aqua theme park.

The deal with Zhonghong had been a 'design-and-development' agreement brokered by SeaWorld, which was canceled. The Orlando-based water world said that the broken deal would not affect its business in any way. SeaWorld also took the opportunity to announce that Yongli Wang, who had been chief strategy officer for Zhonghong, had resigned from the board.

Yoshi Maruyama was chosen as Wang's replacement. Maruyama was previously a consultant to Zhonghong and was serving as SeaWorld's chairman. Perhaps, for the sake of continuity, he was asked to stay on with the board. Whether he will continue on as chairman or step down to a normal board membership hasn't been revealed.

It all appears to be for the better as SeaWorld Entertainment continued to create a path to recovery. The water park operator shared its quarterly financial report, according to Biz Journals, which showed a series of promising returns. This is a far cry from a company that was having trouble with park attendance and ticket sales only a few years ago.

SeaWorld, which had Aquatica and Discovery Cove under its arm, posted a $220.6 million revenue for the first quarter of 2019, which ended on March 31. The amount was 1.6 percent better than the same time last year when revenues were $217.2 million. Attendance climbed to 3.6 percent, good enough for 3.34 million visitors. Last year, it was only 3.22 million visitors.

Small steps are what could be seen here, after all, SeaWorld is in the midst of an upheaval. The first quarter results exceeded the prior year, hinting at a great year to come. Attendance and revenue growth have both exceeded expectations, and the company has increased demand and in-park spending to thank for, which was affected by outside factors like weather and seasonal breaks.

Zhonghong came onboard after it had received Blackstone Group's shares, which had previously controlled these stocks. SeaWorld has a valuable environmental contribution in the form of rehabilitation, where it rescues and treats marine and terrestrial animals, regardless of ownership status, with the end goal of releasing them to the wild.

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