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Howard Stutz

Bally Technologies reverses quarterly loss

21 December 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Bally Technologies gave investors an early Christmas present Thursday by reporting a profit in the first quarter, reversing a loss from a year ago.

The Las Vegas-based gaming equipment company said it had net income of $21.3 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. A year ago, the company reported a loss of $225,000 and a net loss of less than a penny a share.

Revenues rose 22.9 percent to $189 million from $153.8 million.

The company credited increased game sales for the quarterly earnings jump. Bally sold 5,151 games in the quarter, compared with 3,427 slot machines in the same period a year ago. Those games also came with a higher average price; $13,275 per game compared with $12,011 last year.

"We are very pleased with our continued improvement in both business momentum and margins in all the key parts of our business," Bally Chief Executive Officer Richard Haddrill said.

Bally told investors and analysts it expects to earn between $1.55 and $1.85 per share for the entire fiscal year with revenues exceeding $865 million.

CIBC World Markets gaming analyst David Katz said Bally has seemingly returned to financial stability after several off years. Through November, the average daily price of Bally's stock on the New York Stock Exchange has jumped almost 104 percent.

"Bally's results for the September quarter and increased guidance suggest that the true earnings power of the company for the next two to three years remains to be seen," Katz said in a note to investors. "While we have expected the revenue performance to continue, the progress in profitability is a positive surprise."

The earnings news helped propel shares of Bally to a new 52-week high Thursday. Bally closed at $48.23, up $4.35 or 9.91 percent. More than 3.1 million shares were traded, five times the average daily volume.