MTR Gaming quarterly earnings decline

Mar 16, 2004 6:00 AM

MTR Gaming Inc. (MNTG), which recently participated in the purchase of Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas, reported a drop in earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003.

The company, whose principal revenue source has been a racino at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W. Va., blamed interest expense, depreciation and the purchase of Scioto Downs in Ohio for a decline of 16.90% in earnings.

For the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2004 the company said earnings were $2.28 million or $0.08 per share on revenue of $70.43 million compared to $0.10 a share on $62.57 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Annual earnings for fiscal 2003 also fell. According to the announcement, earnings for the year totaled $15.14 million or $0.53 per share compared to the previous year’s earnings of $17.92 million or $0.62 a share.

"We are pleased with our continued growth in 2003”¦despite the carrying costs of our aggressive expansion efforts in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota," Ted Arneault, president and CEO, said, underscoring an increase of 31% in the company’s EBITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

He also cited an increase of 10% in revenues at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort, a property that features 3,200 slot machines as well as live racing.

Last year, the company, which has a license to build and operate a racetrack in Erie, Pennsylvania, purchased Ohio’s largest and most successful harness racing facility, Scioto Downs near Columbus. The property is expected to become a gold mine should the state eventually approve the installation of slot machines at the facility.

Although MTR Gaming will own Binion’s Horseshoe, the property will be operated by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) for the first year. Harrah’s also has an option to continue that operation for an additional two year.

MTR Gaming established a Nevada presence when it purchased the Speedway Casino at the Ramada Inn in North Las Vegas and a hotel in Reno.