Pinnacle boosts revenue,
cuts loss; strong 2005 forecast

Feb 22, 2005 9:02 AM

Increased revenues, despite weather problems, helped Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) to reduce its loss compared to the previous year during the fourth quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2004.

Revenues during the period rose 5.6% to $132.6 million compared to the $125.5 million of a year earlier. Adjusted net loss was $2 million or $0.06 per share. In 2003, the fourth quarter net loss was $2.2 million or $0.09 per share.

For the year, adjusted net income was $2.3 million or $0.06 per share compared to an adjusted net loss of $2.9 million of $0.15 per share in 2003.

Dan Lee, chairman and CEO, noted, "we’ve laid the groundwork for strong growth in 2005 and the years ahead. We particularly look forward to the opening of L’Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana in May of 2005."

Lee also announced the establishment of a new position, that of company president, and promoted Wade Hundley to the post. Hundley had previously served as executive vice president and COO.

Moving into Hundley position will be Alain Uboldi, who had been regional vice president and general manager of the new development in Lake Charles.

"Wade’s new role as president," said Lee, "will allow us to increase our focus on our growth plans in Lake Charles and St. Louis, as well as the active pursuit of new gaming opportunities in the future."

In addition to the Lake Charles development, the company has been selected to develop two projects in the St. Louis, Mo., area.

Hundley, 40, joined the company in 2001 after serving as executive vice president of Harveys Casino Resorts. He previously was a principal of Colony Capital, the investment company that has become very involved in the gaming industry.

Uboldi, 58, was the president and CEO of Lady Luck Gaming Corporation from 1992 to 2000. After operating his consulting company, A Winning Solution, Uboldi became vice president and general manager of Belterra riverboat in Indiana, leaving that position to head the company’s regional development.

In another announcement, the company named Kimberly Townsend senior vice president-marketing. She will oversee the coordination of all marketing functions for Pinnacle properties, including new ventures in Missouri and the Bahamas.

During her 25 years experience in the gaming industry, Townsend has held positions at the Treasure Island Hotel/Casino and The Venetian in Las Vegas, as well as several casinos in Atlantic City.

Riviera Holdings

Despite continued losses from operations, the shares of Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV) continued to be the darling of speculators, many of whom became investors when it was speculated that the company would be taken over so that the real estate could be used for a grander development.

With the shares topping the $43 mark last week, the company announced a 3-1 stock split and hired Jefferies & Company Inc. to explore strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.

The split will be payable on March 11 to shareholders of record on Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, for the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2004, the company reported a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.39 per share. In the fourth quarter of 2003, the company had a loss of $6.7 million or $1.93 per share.

However, revenues for the period rose $2.1 million to $47.5 million with both operating centers reporting increases.

Riviera Las Vegas had revenues of $1.1 million, a 3.4% jump, while the revenues at Riviera Black Hawk rose $995,000.

For the year, net revenues were $201.4 million, an increase of $11.2 million over 2003. This reduced the net loss to $2.1 million or $0.59 per share from 2003’s experience of a net loss of $14.5 million or $4.16 per share.

The Riviera property in Las Vegas sits on 26 acres of prime real estate, explained Bob Vannucci, president.

"We anticipate that our location will benefit from the development of new casinos, hotels and luxury condominiums in the near term," he added.

Sands Regent

Sands Regent (SNDS) reported a huge jump in consolidated net revenues for the second fiscal quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2004.

Buoyed by the revenues generated by Rail City Casino in Sparks, Nev., that was acquired in May 2004, Sands Regent reported revenues of $19.4 million, a 51.9% increase over the prior year period.

Income from operations increased to $1.4 million from the previous year’s $240,000.

Consolidated net income rose to $498,000 or $0.08 per share. A year earlier, with the inclusion of an operating gain of $4.2 million stemming from the company’s final settlement of its 1998 sale of the Copa Casino in Gulfport, Miss., the company’s earnings per share was $4.3 million or $0.81 per share.

For the six months of the fiscal year, the company’s income from operations improved to $4.5 million compared to the $1.9 million in corresponding period.

Youbet.com

Net income turned positive in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 for Youbet.com (UBET), an online wagering company and the largest provider of horse racing content in the country.

For the period that ended on Dec. 31, 2004, the company had net income of $535,372 or $0.02 per share compare to the previous year’s loss of $1.2 million or $0.04 per share.

During the period, the company took a one-time charge of $275,000, net of a $75,000 settlement, for expenses incurred in connection with its efforts to acquire American Wagering Inc. (BETM).

For the fiscal year, the company reported revenues of $65 million compared to $54 million in 2003. Basic income for the year was $4.6 million or $0.15 per share. In the comparable year, the company had a loss of $4 million or $0.15 per share.