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Aztar Q2 Results Up

24 July 2003

PHOENIX, Arizona – (Press Release) -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today announced results for its fiscal second quarter of 2003, including record levels of operating income and EBITDA. Highlights of the quarter, which ended on July 3, 2003, were:

-- Earnings per share of 51 cents, diluted, compared with 42 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter

-- Operating income of $40.0 million versus $39.6 million a year earlier.

-- EBITDA of $53.0 million compared with $52.3 million a year earlier.

"This was a record-breaking quarter, led by solid results from our operations at Tropicana Atlantic City and Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana," said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board and chief executive officer. "We are especially pleased to note the strength of the results at Tropicana Atlantic City, where our expansion project is proceeding nicely and is on schedule to open by the end of March 2004."

The expansion of Tropicana Atlantic City will create the largest hotel, third largest casino and only indoor Las Vegas-style dining/entertainment/retail complex in Atlantic City. The expansion includes 502 additional hotel rooms, 20,000 square feet of meeting space, 2,400 parking spaces, and The Quarter, the project's centerpiece, a 200,000-square-foot dining, entertainment and retail center. Over 40 new outlets will occupy The Quarter, which, when added to the over 20 already existing, will result in over 60 dining, entertainment and retail choices at the Tropicana.

The company recently completed enhancements to other areas of the Tropicana, including a major renovation of the Tropicana's Boardwalk facade and a new Grand Entryway on Brighton Avenue. The Marketplace at the Boardwalk, containing an additional 280 slot machines and an assortment of dining and retail facilities, also opened during the quarter.

Balance Sheet Items

Cash and cash equivalents were $59 million at the end of the second quarter of 2003 compared with $45 million at the end of the first quarter of 2003. Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $582 million at the end of the second quarter of 2003, compared with $546 million at the end of the first quarter of 2003. There were 34.7 million shares of common stock outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2003.

Share Repurchase

The company announced on December 11, 2002, that its board of directors had authorized management to make discretionary repurchases of up to 4.0 million shares of its common stock, or approximately 10 percent of common stock outstanding at that time. During the second quarter of 2003, the company purchased 632,505 shares at an average price of $14.83 per share, bringing the total purchased in the program to 2,590,505 shares at an average price of $13.60 per share.

Capital Expenditures

In the second quarter of 2003, purchases of property and equipment totaled $35 million. Approximately $10 million of the total was spent on routine expenditures, and $25 million (including $1.9 million of capitalized interest) went for development.

Year-to-date Results

For the first half of 2003, the company reported EBITDA of $97.1 million, compared with $96.9 million in the year-earlier half; EBITDA margin was 23.3% compared with 23.2%. Operating income was $71.6 million compared with $71.7 million a year earlier. Net income for the 2003 first half was $32.3 million, equivalent to 87 cents per share, diluted, compared with $30.2 million and 77 cents per share, diluted, in the 2002 half.

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