WPT reports 1st-Q results

May 16, 2005 3:37 AM

In its first quarter report, WPT Enterprises celebrated the Travel Channel’s commitment to broadcast the fourth year of the World Poker Tour, the finalization of an agreement with WagerWorks to develop a WPT poker web site, the expansion of the WPT to France and Italy, and strong produce licensing revenues.

Revenues for the first quarter of 2005 were $4.1 million, equivalent to revenues for the first quarter of 2004, and reflected stronger than expected product licensing income. Net loss for the quarter was $1.6 million or 8¡ per share, compared to earnings of $0.8 million, or 5¡ per fully diluted share in the 2004 period.

"Our first quarter 2005 results demonstrate the company’s continued ability to execute on our strategic plan and initiatives that have been targeted to generate growth," said Steve Lipscomb, president and CEO of WPTE. "The success of the show and strength of the brand was confirmed by the Travel Channel’s decision to exercise its option for the fourth season of the show. In addition, the show’s strong ratings in international markets enabled us to complete distribution agreements to broadcast the show in France and Italy, two major European markets. The WPT continues to achieve worldwide recognition."

Domestic television license revenues were $2.0 million in the first quarter of 2005 compared to $3.5 million in the first quarter of 2004. The higher license revenue reported in the first quarter of 2004 reflected the delivery of nine season two episodes during the period compared to five episodes of season three delivered during the first quarter of 2005.

Additional revenues of $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2005 were derived from a combination of product licensing, international television licensing, sponsorship fees, casino host fees and merchandise sales. Additional revenues in the first quarter of 2004 were $0.6 million consisting of international television licensing, sponsorship fees, casino host fees and merchandise sales.

As of April 3, 2005, the company had no debt, and total cash and short-term investments available was approximately $31.6 million.

Revenue in the second quarter of 2005 is forecast to range from $5.5 million to $6 million due to a higher number of season three episodes scheduled to be delivered during the period.

"I am encouraged by the overall growth of our franchise in general as indicated by the increase in total players and prize pools in season three of the WPT," Lipscomb said. "We are also excited by growth trends in the online gaming space and believe that the second quarter deployment of wptonline.com, our online gaming website, will further diversify our revenue base as well as create additional opportunities in various business segments. We continue to make progress on the strategic objectives that were set for 2005 to enhance shareholder value."

WPT Enterprises developed and owns the World Poker Tour that airs on the Travel Channel in the U.S. and 60 other countries. It also creates branded entertainment and consumer products driven by poker and other gaming themes. Ancillary revenues are related to licensing of apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games and giftware.