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Standard & Poor's upgrades theme park company's credit rating and removes it from its watch list
| Thursday, Dec 1, 2011

All signs point to a full recovery for the nation’s No. 1 theme park operator, two and a half years after it  filed for bankruptcy protection.

Standard & Poor’s removed all of Six Flags Entertainment Corp.’s ratings off of CreditWatch on Wednesday and upgraded tis overall rating to BB from BB-. It’s still a non-investment grade, but it’s a sign of stability.

The upgrade “reflects strong performance during 2011, which has resulted in a meaningful improvement to credit measures, which we believe can be sustained,” S&P said in a statement.

Share prices rose 3.43 percent Thursday and flirted with $40 after having seen levels as low as $24.72 within the past 52 weeks.

On Nov. 23 the company announced it is looking to refinance $1.15 billion in existing debt for the purpose of securing a lower interest rate – not the type of move a troubled company could make. It met with lenders Wednesday to discuss a plan that would give it a $200 million revolving line of credit, a $250 million term loan maturing in five years and a $700 million loan maturing in seven years.

S&P assigned a preliminary rating of BB+ to the company’s proposed $1.15 billion replacement credit facilities.

Six Flags listed $3 billion in assets and $2.4 billion in debt when it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2009. By Dec. 30, 2010, it had lowered its outstanding long-term debt to $971 million. Annual revenues are approximately $1 billion.

Headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas, Six Flags operates 19 theme parks in the United States, Mexico and Canada, including two in Valencia (Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor).

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