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Aztar Reports Q2 Earnings Up, Revenues Flat

24 July 2002

PHOENIX, Arizona – (Press Release) -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today announced results for its fiscal second quarter 2002. Highlights of the quarter, which ended on July 4, 2002, were:

-- Earnings per share, before the effect of a recent change in New Jersey tax law, of 46 cents, diluted, up from 40 cents per share.

-- Revenues of $211.1 million, flat with last year.

-- Operating income of $39.6 million, up from $35.0 million.

-- EBITDAR of $54.8 million, up from $52.7 million in the 2001 quarter. EBITDAR has now increased over the year-earlier quarter in 25 of the last 26 quarters.

-- EBITDAR margin of 26.0%, up from 25.0%.

"Our emphasis on high-quality revenues and tight control on expenses continued to pay off in the second quarter," said Paul Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board and chief executive officer. "Our management remains focused on generating cash flow by providing our customers entertaining products and services."

Income Taxes

On July 2, 2002, the State of New Jersey enacted the Business Tax Reform Act, which is retroactive to the beginning of 2002 and includes provisions that adversely impact our New Jersey tax situation. As a result, our second- quarter income tax provision includes $1.8 million, equivalent to 4 cents a share, to provide for the effect of this new tax legislation on our July 4, 2002 year-to-date results. We expect the ongoing effect of the tax law change will result in a reduction in diluted earnings per share of approximately 2 cents per quarter.

Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets

In accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 142, "Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets," we ceased amortizing the cost of our initial gaming licenses beginning January 4, 2002. If this statement had been effective last year, our second-quarter 2001 diluted earnings per share would have been 41 cents, or one cent higher than reported.

Balance Sheet Items

Cash and cash equivalents were $57 million at the end of the second quarter compared with $63 million at the end of the 2002 first quarter. Long- term debt, including the current portion, was $547 million at the end of the second quarter, compared with $568 million at the end of the first quarter. Our ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA was 2.9 times and EBITDA coverage of interest expense before the reduction for capitalized interest was 4.4 times. There were 37.3 million shares of common stock outstanding at the end of the second quarter.

Tropicana Atlantic City

The Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported second quarter revenue of $114.5 million, down 2% from the prior year, reflecting, among other factors, a lower hold percentage in slots. Rooms revenue increased 12% on higher occupancy and higher average daily rate. EBITDAR was $33.3 million versus $33.0 million in the prior year's quarter. EBITDAR margin was 29.1% versus 28.3% a year earlier.

Tropicana Las Vegas

The Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported second quarter revenue of $39.2 million versus $39.7 million in the prior year. EBITDAR was $8.5 million versus $8 million a year ago. EBITDAR margin was 21.7% versus 20.1% in last year's quarter.

Ramada Express Laughlin

The Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada reported second quarter revenue of $23.9 million, flat with last year. EBITDAR was $6.2 million versus $6 million in the year-earlier quarter. EBITDAR margin rose to 26.3% from 25.4%.

Casino Aztar Evansville

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana, had revenue of $27.4 million versus $25 million, up 10%. EBITDAR was $8.6 million, up from $8 million a year earlier. EBITDAR margin was 31.3%, down from 32.1% a year ago.

Casino Aztar Caruthersville

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri, had revenue of $6.1 million, up from $6 million. EBITDAR was $1.2 million versus $1 million in the prior year. EBITDAR margin was 18.9% compared to 16.5% a year earlier.

Year-to-date Results

For the first half of 2002, the company reported EBITDAR of $103.7 million compared with $99.4 million in the first half of 2001; EBITDAR margin was 24.9% compared with 23.7%. Operating income was $71.7 million compared with $63.8 million a year earlier. Net income for the 2002 first half was $30.2 million, equivalent to 77 cents per share, diluted, compared with $27.4 million, equivalent to 69 cents per share, diluted. As discussed above, if the accounting statement on intangible assets had been effective last year, our first-half 2001 diluted earnings per share would have been 71 cents or two cents higher than reported.

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