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Aztar reports Q3 results

19 October 2006

PHOENIX, Arizona – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today reported financial results for its 2006 third quarter, including property EBITDA from continuing operations of $71.0 million, compared with $65.7 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Third-quarter 2006 revenue was $234.0 million, compared with $234.3 million in the comparable 2005 quarter. Reported diluted net income per share was 60 cents in the 2006 third quarter, compared with diluted net income per share of 51 cents in the 2005 quarter. Adjusted diluted net income per share was 54 cents in the 2006 third quarter, which is after stock option compensation expense equivalent to one cent per share, compared with 51 cents in the 2005 third quarter.

Property EBITDA

Property EBITDA in the 2006 third quarter includes construction accident related expenses of $1.0 million and insurance recoveries of $3.9 million, compared with expenses of $1.4 million and no insurance recoveries in the 2005 third quarter. Other income (expense) of $2.7 million consists of insurance recoveries for the rebuilding of the damaged portion of the Tropicana Atlantic City expansion after the construction accident that occurred on October 30, 2003, net of direct costs to obtain the recoveries, compared to $(0.3) million in the comparable 2005 quarter.

Discontinued Operations

On May 19, 2006, the company announced it had signed a merger agreement with Wimar Tahoe Corporation d/b/a Columbia Entertainment, the gaming affiliate of Columbia Sussex Corporation. Results for Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Missouri, are reported as discontinued operations, net of income taxes, reflecting our commitment to sell or close that property as part of the merger agreement.

Year-to-Date Results

Consolidated revenue was $677.2 million in the first three quarters of 2006, compared with $671.6 million in the first three quarters of 2005. Property EBITDA from continuing operations was $191.7 million in the 2006 period, compared with $175.5 million a year earlier. Year-to-date 2006 net loss was $39.6 million, equivalent to $1.14 per diluted share, compared with net income of $44.7 million, equivalent to $1.19 per diluted share, in the first three quarters of 2005.

Prior to signing the Columbia Entertainment merger agreement, the company terminated its earlier merger agreement with Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. and paid to Pinnacle a termination fee of $52.16 million and termination expenses of $25.84 million. The payment is not deductible for tax purposes. The payment to Pinnacle and certain other costs, consisting mainly of professional fees, are reported as merger-related expenses. Adjusted diluted net income per share was $1.26 in the first three quarters of 2006, which is after stock option compensation expense equivalent to five cents per share, compared with $1.18 in the comparable 2005 period.

Fiscal Year Change

The company changed its fiscal year to the calendar year, effective December 31, 2005. The company previously used a 52/53 week fiscal year ending on the Thursday nearest December 31. The information in this release for the third quarter of 2006 reflects the company's results of operations for a 92-day period beginning July 1, 2006 and ending September 30, 2006. The third quarter of 2005 contained 91 days, beginning on July 1, 2005, and ending on September 29, 2005.

Status of Merger with Columbia Entertainment

On October 17, 2006, Aztar shareholders approved the merger at a special meeting of Aztar shareholders. Our merger with Columbia Entertainment is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the receipt of necessary gaming approvals. Filings regarding approval of the transaction have been made by Columbia Entertainment in each of New Jersey, Nevada and Indiana. We understand that Columbia Entertainment also filed applications relating to its financing of the transaction in each of Louisiana and Mississippi; Mississippi authorities have approved the financing. The merger is presently expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006.

In our merger agreement with Columbia Entertainment, we agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to sell our Missouri property, commonly known as Casino Aztar Caruthersville. We signed an agreement with Fortunes Entertainment, LLC on August 17, 2006 under which Fortunes Entertainment will acquire the Caruthersville property. Approval of the sale by Missouri gaming authorities is required.

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