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LAS VEGAS -- Pinnacle Entertainment reversed a fourth-quarter loss from a year ago, benefiting from increased business at its New Orleans riverboat casino.
The Las Vegas-based casino operator Wednesday said it had earnings of $7.5 million, or 17 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. A year ago, Pinnacle lost $4.8 million in the fourth quarter, or 13 cents a share.
Gaming analysts polled by Thomson First Call estimated Pinnacle would earn 14 cents per share in the quarter.
The company said results at its Boomtown New Orleans casino helped offset the loss of revenues from its Casino Magic property in Biloxi, Miss., which was destroyed in August by Hurricane Katrina.
Boomtown, which is in suburban New Orleans, had fourth-quarter revenue of $65 million, a 130 percent increase compared with $27.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. In all of 2005, Boomtown's revenue grew to a record $143.1 million, a 28.8 percent increase compared with $111.1 million in 2004.
Boomtown was closed for five weeks following Hurricane Katrina and had damage costs of $2 million.
The Casino Magic in Biloxi had revenues of $57.4 million before it closed in late August when Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although the casino barge was destroyed, Pinnacle is still determining the damage to the hotel structure and its contents. The company didn't say when it would rebuild Casino Magic.
Pinnacle also had hurricane-related interruptions at its L'Auberge du Lac casino in Lake Charles, La., which opened in May.
Hurricane Rita closed L'Auberge du Lac between Sept. 22 and Oct. 8 and damaged the 750-room hotel and 30,000 square-foot casino. By the end of October, all food, beverage and other amenities had reopened, including the golf course.
During the quarter, L'Auberge du Lac reported revenues of $67.5 million, a 31.1 percent increase from the revenues generated in the 2005 third quarter.
"We are extremely pleased with our 2005 financial results, particularly in light of the significant hurricane disruption of the second half of 2005," Pinnacle Chairman Dan Lee said.
Gaming analysts thought Pinnacle's stock price could be affected by the earnings.
"This was a strong quarter by any measure," Lehman Bros. gaming analyst Felicia Kantor Hendrix said in a note to investors. "That said, we believe some expectations were higher than company results which could weigh on the stock. We would take advantage of any weakness."
Pinnacle shares fell 70 cents, or 2.54 percent, Wednesday to close at closed at 26.86 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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