Ameristar lowers fiscal projections

Oct 3, 2005 4:52 AM

Casino operator Ameristar Casinos Inc. lowered fiscal projections for the third quarter and full year on Wednesday, citing construction disruption related to the expansion project at its Mountain High property in Black Hawk, Colorado.

The company said Mountain High also was hurt for most of the third quarter by the temporary closure of the main highway connecting Black Hawk and Denver.

Ameristar Casinos owns five casino hotels and two casinos in Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and Nevada. Shares closed down 37 cents at $21.87 on the Nasdaq and then plunged $1.87, or 8.6 percent, to $20 in after-market activity.

Outside of Colorado, Ameristar said increased competition in the St. Louis market has resulted in increased marketing efforts at the company’s St. Charles property.

For the third quarter, the company now sees operating income of $39 million to $40 million, or 26 cents to 28 cents per share, down from prior estimates of $42 to $44 million, or 30 cents to 32 cents per share.

For the full year, Ameristar projects operating profit of $162 to $164 million, or $1.08 to $1.11 per share, compared with higher guidance of $171 million to $179 million, or $1.17 to $1.26 per share.