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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Regional casino operator Pinnacle suffers fourth-quarter net loss

14 February 2013

LAS VEGAS -- Several one-time charges and costs associated with the opening of a hotel-casino in Baton Rouge, La., caused regional gaming operator Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. to suffer a net loss in the fourth quarter.

The Las Vegas-based company said Wednesday its net loss in the quarter that ended Dec. 31 was $42.4 million, or 72 cents per share, compared with a profit of $25 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

The largest charge Pinnacle took in the quarter was a noncash write-down of approximately $25 million related to the company's investment in a casino project in Vietnam. Pinnacle also reported one-time charges surrounding casino expansion projects in St. Louis and the opening of the L'Auberge Baton Rouge in September.

Pinnacle said revenues for the quarter grew 9.4 percent to $301.6 million and the company's full-year revenues increased 4.9 percent to $1.197 billion.

Pinnacle CEO Anthony Sanfilippo said the company made progress in advancing several key financial, growth, and strategic initiatives during the year.

"The strong operating results we delivered in 2012 came in spite of abnormally low table hold across our Louisiana properties and a general softening in business volumes our industry began to experience during the fourth quarter," Sanfilippo said.

Pinnacle announced in December the company was purchasing rival regional casino operator Ameristar Casinos, Inc. for an enterprise value of $2.8 billion. On Tuesday, the companies announced they had received a request for additional information on the transaction from the Federal Trade Commission under the notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act.

"The companies intend to expeditiously respond to the information request and to continue to work cooperatively with the FTC in connection with this review," according to a joint statement. Pinnacle and Ameristar expect the transaction to close during the second or third quarter of 2013.

Pinnacle said an agreement to sell the company's land holdings in Atlantic City for $30.6 million was expected to close by the end of March.

Pinnacle shares lost 94 cents, or 5.92 percent, on Wednesday to close at $14.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.