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SANDUSKY, OH-Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. is looking for ways to reduce its debt and part of that plan now includes the sale of land and several properties. Cedar Fair executives said they will decrease the annual distribution rate to $1.00 per limited partner, of $0.25 per unit per quarter.

At the beginning of February, when the company released its Q4 and year-end financial results, the debt load appeared significant. At the end of December, Cedar Fair had $1.7 billion in long-term debt and $2.2 billion in total assets. According to its SEC filings, Cedar Fair brought in $996 million in revenue during 2008, with a net income of $5.7 million.

At the time, Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s chairman, president and CEO, said, “As we head into 2009, we also continue to evaluate our current capital structure and various alternatives for reducing the Company’s debt levels. In light of current economic and market conditions, reducing our debt and strengthening our balance sheet must continue to be a priority. We are considering a wide range of alternatives for reducing debt and no decisions have been finalized on any of these alternatives at this time.”

The company fell into debt in 2006 when it purchased five Paramount amusement parks for $1.3 billion from CBS Corp. The deal gave Cedar Fair Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto, King’s Island near Cincinnati, OH; King’s Dominion near Richmond, VA; Carowinds near Charlotte, NC; and Great America in Santa Clara, CA.

Until this week, it remained uncertain how the company would attempt to divest of its debt. But in a release issued Monday, Cedar Fair has said it will continue its attempts to sale excess land in Toronto and Cleveland. Additionally, it is considering selling its parks in Santa Clara, CA; Kansas City; and Shakopee, MN. The company warns it is too early in the process to comment on the potential transactions. The sale of the California asset, California’s Great America, is actively under discussion with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Worlds of Fun in Missouri and Valleyfair in Minnesota are the other two properties up for grabs.

“In light of current economic and market conditions, reducing our debt and strengthening our balance sheet must continue to be a priority,” says Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s chairman, president and CEO. “These actions are designed to reiterate our commitment to create long-term value for our unitholders. We feel confident that we are proactively taking steps to reduce our leverage and strengthen our financial position over the long term.”

Cedar Fair owns and operates 11 amusement parks, seven water parks and five hotels.

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