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Aztar Results Exceeds Estimates for Q4

5 February 2002

PHOENIX, Arizona –(Press Release) -- Feb. 5, 2002 -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today announced results for its fiscal fourth-quarter 2001, which ended on January 3, 2002 and included operations for 14 weeks, one week more than the prior year's quarter. Highlights of the quarter were:

The company estimates that the inclusion of 14 weeks in the fiscal fourth quarter, instead of the normal 13 weeks, resulted in approximately $23 million of additional revenues, $7 million of additional EBITDAR, and incremental earnings per share of 11 cents. Omitting estimated results from the extra week, the company believes that it would have generated EBITDAR of approximately $41 million, 12 percent higher than last year's fourth quarter EBITDAR of $36.6 million. EBITDAR has now increased over the year-earlier quarter in 23 of the last 24 quarters.

``We had a superb fourth quarter, '' said Paul Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. ``Our earnings of 33 cents nearly doubled analyst consensus estimates, which included the benefit from the extra week. Each of our properties, except for the Las Vegas Tropicana, reported higher EBITDAR than in the 2000 quarter, and their EBITDAR was higher than last year's even without the extra week.''

The fourth-quarter results by property, including the fourteenth week in 2001, are summarized below.

Tropicana Atlantic City:

Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported fourth-quarter revenues of $119 million, up 11%. Occupancy was 91.5%, versus 90.8% last year, and room rates increased by 3%. EBITDAR was $31.8 million, compared with $23.0 million in the 2000 quarter, a 38% increase. EBITDAR margin was 26.7%, up from 21.4% a year earlier. EBITDAR during the fiscal year was $126.6 million.

Tropicana Las Vegas:

Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported fourth-quarter revenues of $35.9 million, down 1%. Occupancy was 85.5%, down from 92.4%, and room rates fell 7%. EBITDAR was $5.0 million, compared with $6.3 million a year earlier. EBITDAR margin declined to 14.0% from 17.7% a year earlier. EBITDAR for the fiscal year was $26.2 million.

Ramada Express Laughlin:

Revenues at Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, were $24.0 million, up 11%. Occupancy declined to 69.4%, but average room rates increased by 12% resulting in higher room revenue than in the year-earlier quarter. The property reported fourth-quarter EBITDAR of $5.7 million, compared with $3.7 million a year earlier. EBITDAR margin was 23.9% in the quarter, up from 17.0% in the 2000 fourth quarter. EBITDAR for the fiscal year was $23.7 million.

Casino Aztar Evansville:

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana, had revenues of $27.3 million, 16% higher. Occupancy and room rates were both higher than in the 2000 fourth quarter. EBITDAR was $7.6 million, compared with $6.1 million in the year-earlier quarter. EBITDAR margin increased to 28.1% from 26.2%. EBITDAR for the fiscal year was $33.6 million.

Casino Aztar Caruthersville:

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri, produced revenues that were 13% higher than in the year-earlier quarter. Fourth-quarter EBITDAR was $1.2 million, double the year-earlier period. EBITDAR margin was 20.1%, up from 11.3%. EBITDAR for the fiscal year was $4.5 million.

Balance Sheet Items:

Cash and cash equivalents were $92 million at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $82 million at the end of the third quarter. Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $460 million at the end of the fourth quarter, the same as at the end of the third quarter. Our ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA was 2.5 times and EBITDA coverage of interest expense before the reduction for capitalized interest was 4.5 times. There were 36.6 million shares of common stock outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter.

Fiscal Year Results:

For fiscal 2001, we reported revenues of $849.5 million, up slightly from last year. EBITDAR was $201.8 million compared with $186.6 million for fiscal 2000; EBITDAR margin was 23.8% compared with 22.0%. Operating income was $131.4 million, compared with $115.5 million a year earlier. Net income for fiscal 2001 was $58.0 million, equivalent to $1.48 per share, diluted, compared with $53.1 million, or $1.23 per share, diluted. The second quarter of 2000 included a non-recurring tax benefit of $7.5 million due to the favorable resolution of an issue in connection with Internal Revenue Service examinations of our tax returns for years 1989 through 1996.

Accounting Periods:

We use a 52/53-week fiscal year ending on the Thursday nearest to December 31. Our fiscal 2001 year, which began on December 29, 2000, and ended on January 3, 2002, included 53 weeks. Our fiscal 2000 year, which began on December 31, 1999, ended on December 28, 2000, and included 52 weeks. Our fiscal first quarter of 2002 began on January 4, 2002; our 2002 fiscal quarters will end on April 4, July 4, and October 3, 2002, and January 2, 2003.

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