Ameristar Casinos became star of week for investors

May 5, 2009 5:05 PM
Earnings by Ray Poirier | Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) became the star of the week for investors when it reported a surprisingly good quarter with earnings that easily surpassed analysts’ estimates.

For the period that ended on March 31, Ameristar Casinos reported earnings of $29.9 million or $0.52 per share, compared to a loss of $60.9 million or $1.07 a year earlier. The major loss included an impairment charge of $78.4 million.

Analysts had estimated earnings for the first fiscal quarter at $0.33 per share.

Even though revenue dipped some 3 percent from the previous year, the $315.8 million was considered a small decline during the recession. Also, the company said it had encountered additional competition.

Of a benefit during this slowdown, the company said, was the fact that many entertainment seekers looked to save on travel costs and elected to patronize casinos that were closer to home.

Energizing investors was the company’s announcement that it was re-instituting its dividend program which was suspended following last year’s third quarter.

The company will pay a dividend of $0.105 per share on May 19 to shareholders of record May 11.

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