Aztar Q3 earnings rise

Oct 24, 2006 5:49 AM

Unlike most gaming companies reporting quarterly earnings, management of Aztar Corp. (AZR) did not have to be concerned whether its numbers would satisfy analysts since Columbia Sussex Corp. is expected to pay $54 a share for the company stock, probably before the end of the year.

So it was probably satisfying to both Aztar and Columbia Sussex managements that the company was able to show net income for the quarter of $23.3million or $0.60 per share compared to last year’s $19.4 million or $0.51 per share.

Revenue, however, was roughly flat at $234 million, a shade under last year’s $234.3 million.

Property EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $45.8 million included construction accident related expenses of $1 million and insurance recoveries of $3.9 million. Last year’s EBITDA was $41.4 million.

The third quarter results of Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Missouri, were reported as discontinued operations, net of income taxes, because of the company’s commitment to sell or close that property as part of the Columbia Sussex agreement. On Aug. 17, Aztar Corp. agreed to sell the Caruthersville property to Fortunes Entertainment LLC. Regulatory approval of the sale is pending.

For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the company has had consolidated revenues of $677.2 million compared to $671.6 million in the prior year. Year-to-date net loss was $39.6 million compared to a net profit in the previous year of $44.7 million.