Aztar Reports Record First-Quarter Results, EPS of 28 Cents

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Aztar Corporation

    PHOENIX, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE:   AZR) today
 announced record first-quarter operating cash flow, operating income and net
 income.  Highlights of the quarter, ended March 29, 2001, were:
 
     -- Earnings per share of 28 cents, diluted, compared with 25 cents
        per share a year earlier.
     -- Net income of $11.4 million compared with $11.0 million last year.
     -- Operating income of $28.8 million compared with $28.4 million.
     -- Operating cash flow of $46.7 million compared with $46.2 million in the
        2000 quarter.
     -- Operating cash flow margin of 22.4% compared with 21.9% last year.
 
     "Despite tough comparisons to last year's record first-quarter results and
 this year's adverse weather conditions, our first quarter this year set new
 records.  Our results reflect the successful and ongoing efforts of our
 management to market to patrons with higher profit value and to pay attention
 to the cost side of our operations," said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of
 the board, president and chief executive officer.  "We continue to focus on
 programs that increase quality revenues with higher profit components and to
 cull out those revenues that prove to be marginally beneficial in producing
 operating cash flow.  We are committed to our goal of increasing cash flows in
 2001 at each of our five properties, and we have a high level of confidence
 that we will be able to do so."
     Operating cash flow, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes,
 depreciation, amortization and rent (EBITDAR) now has increased over the
 year-earlier quarter in 20 of the last 21 quarters.  For the last twelve
 months, EBITDAR was $187.1 million.
 
     Tropicana Atlantic City
     Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported first-quarter
 operating cash flow of $23.4 million, compared with a record $24.6 million in
 the comparable 2000 quarter.  This year's quarter represents the second best
 first quarter in the Tropicana's history.  Revenues declined 4% due primarily
 to harsh winter weather, particularly a major storm over New Year's Eve
 weekend which fell in our fiscal first quarter.  Operating cash flow margin
 was 21.9%, down from 22.2% last year.
 
     Tropicana Las Vegas
     Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported first-quarter operating
 cash flow of $7.6 million, compared to $6.0 million a year ago.  Revenues
 increased 8% and operating cash flow margin increased  2.6 points to 18.5%.
 
     Ramada Express Laughlin
     Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada reported first-quarter
 operating cash flow of $8.2 million, matching last year's record first
 quarter.  Revenues in the first quarter decreased by 4%, but operating cash
 flow margin increased one point to 30.6%.
 
     Casino Aztar Evansville
     Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana,
 reported first-quarter cash flow of $9.5 million, compared with $9.3 million
 in the year-earlier period.  Revenues declined 3% but operating margin
 increased two points to 35%.
 
     Casino Aztar Caruthersville
     Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri,
 reported $1.3 million of first-quarter operating cash flow, compared with
 $1.1 million in the year-earlier period.  Revenues increased 2%, and operating
 cash flow margins increased 2.4 points to 18.9%.
 
     Balance Sheet Items
     Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $456 million at the end
 of the first quarter, down from $465 million at the end of fiscal 2000.  Cash
 and cash equivalents were $43 million compared to $48 million at year end.
 The company's ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA remained at 2.7 times compared
 to the end of fiscal 2000.  There were 37.8 million shares outstanding at the
 end of the quarter.
 
     Stock Repurchase
     During the first quarter of 2001, the company purchased 1.0 million shares
 of Aztar common stock at prices ranging from $9.00 per share to $13.33 per
 share at an average price of $11.14 per share.  From the beginning of the
 share repurchase program in May 1999 through March 29, 2001, the company
 purchased 9.6 million shares at prices ranging from $6.69 per share to
 $15.63 per share at an average price of $11.45 per share.
 
     Conference Call
     The company's fiscal first-quarter 2001 earnings conference call will be
 broadcast live on the Internet beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
 today.  Individuals may access the live audio webcast through our website at
 www.aztar.com and at www.streetfusion.com.  The call also will be available on
 replay through our corporate website and streetfusion.com for 30 days
 following the call.
 
 
     Selected Results by Property($ in millions, except ADR*)
                                         First Quarter
                                      2001            2000
                                          (unaudited)
     Tropicana Atlantic City
       Revenue                      $ 106.6         $ 111.0
       Operating income             $  16.1         $  17.5
       EBITDAR **                   $  23.4         $  24.6
       EBITDAR margin                  21.9%           22.2%
       Rent                         $   0.7         $   0.5
 
       Occupancy                       91.6%           91.3%
       ADR                          $  76.74        $  74.86
 
     Tropicana Las Vegas
       Revenue                      $  41.0         $  38.1
       Operating income             $   3.2         $   1.1
       EBITDAR                      $   7.6         $   6.0
       EBITDAR margin                  18.5%           15.9%
       Rent                         $   2.4         $   2.5
 
       Occupancy                       96.6%           94.9%
       ADR                          $  75.69        $  71.64
 
     Ramada Express Laughlin
       Revenue                      $  26.7         $  27.7
       Operating income             $   6.6         $   6.7
       EBITDAR                      $   8.2         $   8.2
       EBITDAR margin                  30.6%           29.6%
       Rent                         $   0.1         $   0.2
 
       Occupancy                       93.1%           92.5%
       ADR                          $  23.53        $  25.71
 
     Casino Aztar Evansville
       Revenue                      $  27.3         $  28.1
       Operating income             $   5.7         $   6.0
       EBITDAR                      $   9.5         $   9.3
       EBITDAR margin                  35.0%           33.0%
       Rent                         $   1.6         $   0.8
 
       Occupancy                       72.0%           76.4%
       ADR                          $  67.19        $  63.61
 
     Casino Aztar Caruthersville
       Revenue                      $   6.7         $   6.6
       Operating income             $   0.6         $   0.2
       EBITDAR                      $   1.3         $   1.1
       EBITDAR margin                  18.9%           16.5%
       Rent                         $   0           $   0
 
     Corporate
       Operating income             $  (3.4)        $  (3.1)
       EBITDAR                      $  (3.3)        $  (3.0)
       Rent                         $   0.1         $   0.1
 
     Consolidated
       Revenue                      $ 208.3         $ 211.5
       Operating income             $  28.8         $  28.4
       EBITDAR                      $  46.7         $  46.2
       EBITDAR margin                  22.4%           21.9%
       Rent                         $   4.9         $   4.1
 
     * ADR = Average Daily Rate
     ** EBITDAR = Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization &
                  rent
 
     Aztar is a publicly traded company that operates Tropicana Casino and
 Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas,
 Nevada, Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, Casino Aztar in
 Caruthersville, Missouri, and Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana.
 
     The disclosures herein include statements that are 'forward looking'
 within the meaning of federal securities law.  These forward-looking
 statements generally can be identified by phrases such as the company
 "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "foresees," "forecasts," "estimates," or
 other words or phrases of similar import.  Similarly, statements herein that
 describe the company's business strategy, outlook, objectives, plans,
 intentions or goals are also forward-looking statements.  Such forward-looking
 information involves important risks and uncertainties that could
 significantly affect results in the future and, accordingly, such results may
 differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on
 behalf of the company.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not
 limited to, those relating to economic conditions, the cyclical nature of the
 hotel business and the gaming business, competition, the effects of weather,
 legislative and regulatory matters, and reliance on key personnel.  For more
 information, review the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange
 Commission, including the company's annual report on Form 10-K for
 December 28, 2000 and certain registration statements of the company.
 
 
                       Aztar Corporation and Subsidiaries
                     Consolidated Statements of Operations
            For the periods ended March 29, 2001 and March 30, 2000
                     (in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                            First Quarter
                                                       2001           2000
     Revenues
       Casino                                        $166,297       $170,729
       Rooms                                           18,256         16,878
       Food and beverage                               14,467         14,291
       Other                                            9,324          9,626
                                                      208,344        211,524
 
     Costs and expenses
       Casino                                          72,979         74,805
       Rooms                                            9,351          8,730
       Food and beverage                               14,142         13,695
       Other                                            8,150          8,216
       Marketing                                       19,949         23,059
       General and administrative                      19,344         19,424
       Utilities                                        4,478          3,328
       Repairs and maintenance                          6,173          6,421
       Provision for doubtful accounts                    874          1,604
       Property taxes and insurance                     6,239          5,996
       Rent                                             4,907          4,085
       Depreciation and amortization                   12,996         13,720
                                                      179,582        183,083
 
     Operating income                                  28,762         28,441
 
       Interest income                                    388            341
       Interest expense                               (10,078)       (10,886)
 
     Income before other items and income taxes        19,072         17,896
 
       Equity in unconsolidated partnership's loss     (1,018)        (1,033)
 
     Income before income taxes                        18,054         16,863
 
       Income taxes                                    (6,663)        (5,839)
 
     Net income                                      $ 11,391       $ 11,024
 
     Net income per common share                     $    .29       $    .26
 
     Net income per common share assuming dilution   $    .28       $    .25
 
     Weighted-average common shares applicable to:
       Net income per common share                     38,212         42,366
       Net income per common share assuming dilution   39,592         43,753
 
 
 

SOURCE Aztar Corporation
    PHOENIX, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE:   AZR) today
 announced record first-quarter operating cash flow, operating income and net
 income.  Highlights of the quarter, ended March 29, 2001, were:
 
     -- Earnings per share of 28 cents, diluted, compared with 25 cents
        per share a year earlier.
     -- Net income of $11.4 million compared with $11.0 million last year.
     -- Operating income of $28.8 million compared with $28.4 million.
     -- Operating cash flow of $46.7 million compared with $46.2 million in the
        2000 quarter.
     -- Operating cash flow margin of 22.4% compared with 21.9% last year.
 
     "Despite tough comparisons to last year's record first-quarter results and
 this year's adverse weather conditions, our first quarter this year set new
 records.  Our results reflect the successful and ongoing efforts of our
 management to market to patrons with higher profit value and to pay attention
 to the cost side of our operations," said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of
 the board, president and chief executive officer.  "We continue to focus on
 programs that increase quality revenues with higher profit components and to
 cull out those revenues that prove to be marginally beneficial in producing
 operating cash flow.  We are committed to our goal of increasing cash flows in
 2001 at each of our five properties, and we have a high level of confidence
 that we will be able to do so."
     Operating cash flow, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes,
 depreciation, amortization and rent (EBITDAR) now has increased over the
 year-earlier quarter in 20 of the last 21 quarters.  For the last twelve
 months, EBITDAR was $187.1 million.
 
     Tropicana Atlantic City
     Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported first-quarter
 operating cash flow of $23.4 million, compared with a record $24.6 million in
 the comparable 2000 quarter.  This year's quarter represents the second best
 first quarter in the Tropicana's history.  Revenues declined 4% due primarily
 to harsh winter weather, particularly a major storm over New Year's Eve
 weekend which fell in our fiscal first quarter.  Operating cash flow margin
 was 21.9%, down from 22.2% last year.
 
     Tropicana Las Vegas
     Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported first-quarter operating
 cash flow of $7.6 million, compared to $6.0 million a year ago.  Revenues
 increased 8% and operating cash flow margin increased  2.6 points to 18.5%.
 
     Ramada Express Laughlin
     Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada reported first-quarter
 operating cash flow of $8.2 million, matching last year's record first
 quarter.  Revenues in the first quarter decreased by 4%, but operating cash
 flow margin increased one point to 30.6%.
 
     Casino Aztar Evansville
     Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana,
 reported first-quarter cash flow of $9.5 million, compared with $9.3 million
 in the year-earlier period.  Revenues declined 3% but operating margin
 increased two points to 35%.
 
     Casino Aztar Caruthersville
     Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri,
 reported $1.3 million of first-quarter operating cash flow, compared with
 $1.1 million in the year-earlier period.  Revenues increased 2%, and operating
 cash flow margins increased 2.4 points to 18.9%.
 
     Balance Sheet Items
     Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $456 million at the end
 of the first quarter, down from $465 million at the end of fiscal 2000.  Cash
 and cash equivalents were $43 million compared to $48 million at year end.
 The company's ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA remained at 2.7 times compared
 to the end of fiscal 2000.  There were 37.8 million shares outstanding at the
 end of the quarter.
 
     Stock Repurchase
     During the first quarter of 2001, the company purchased 1.0 million shares
 of Aztar common stock at prices ranging from $9.00 per share to $13.33 per
 share at an average price of $11.14 per share.  From the beginning of the
 share repurchase program in May 1999 through March 29, 2001, the company
 purchased 9.6 million shares at prices ranging from $6.69 per share to
 $15.63 per share at an average price of $11.45 per share.
 
     Conference Call
     The company's fiscal first-quarter 2001 earnings conference call will be
 broadcast live on the Internet beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
 today.  Individuals may access the live audio webcast through our website at
 www.aztar.com and at www.streetfusion.com.  The call also will be available on
 replay through our corporate website and streetfusion.com for 30 days
 following the call.
 
 
     Selected Results by Property($ in millions, except ADR*)
                                         First Quarter
                                      2001            2000
                                          (unaudited)
     Tropicana Atlantic City
       Revenue                      $ 106.6         $ 111.0
       Operating income             $  16.1         $  17.5
       EBITDAR **                   $  23.4         $  24.6
       EBITDAR margin                  21.9%           22.2%
       Rent                         $   0.7         $   0.5
 
       Occupancy                       91.6%           91.3%
       ADR                          $  76.74        $  74.86
 
     Tropicana Las Vegas
       Revenue                      $  41.0         $  38.1
       Operating income             $   3.2         $   1.1
       EBITDAR                      $   7.6         $   6.0
       EBITDAR margin                  18.5%           15.9%
       Rent                         $   2.4         $   2.5
 
       Occupancy                       96.6%           94.9%
       ADR                          $  75.69        $  71.64
 
     Ramada Express Laughlin
       Revenue                      $  26.7         $  27.7
       Operating income             $   6.6         $   6.7
       EBITDAR                      $   8.2         $   8.2
       EBITDAR margin                  30.6%           29.6%
       Rent                         $   0.1         $   0.2
 
       Occupancy                       93.1%           92.5%
       ADR                          $  23.53        $  25.71
 
     Casino Aztar Evansville
       Revenue                      $  27.3         $  28.1
       Operating income             $   5.7         $   6.0
       EBITDAR                      $   9.5         $   9.3
       EBITDAR margin                  35.0%           33.0%
       Rent                         $   1.6         $   0.8
 
       Occupancy                       72.0%           76.4%
       ADR                          $  67.19        $  63.61
 
     Casino Aztar Caruthersville
       Revenue                      $   6.7         $   6.6
       Operating income             $   0.6         $   0.2
       EBITDAR                      $   1.3         $   1.1
       EBITDAR margin                  18.9%           16.5%
       Rent                         $   0           $   0
 
     Corporate
       Operating income             $  (3.4)        $  (3.1)
       EBITDAR                      $  (3.3)        $  (3.0)
       Rent                         $   0.1         $   0.1
 
     Consolidated
       Revenue                      $ 208.3         $ 211.5
       Operating income             $  28.8         $  28.4
       EBITDAR                      $  46.7         $  46.2
       EBITDAR margin                  22.4%           21.9%
       Rent                         $   4.9         $   4.1
 
     * ADR = Average Daily Rate
     ** EBITDAR = Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization &
                  rent
 
     Aztar is a publicly traded company that operates Tropicana Casino and
 Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas,
 Nevada, Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, Casino Aztar in
 Caruthersville, Missouri, and Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana.
 
     The disclosures herein include statements that are 'forward looking'
 within the meaning of federal securities law.  These forward-looking
 statements generally can be identified by phrases such as the company
 "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "foresees," "forecasts," "estimates," or
 other words or phrases of similar import.  Similarly, statements herein that
 describe the company's business strategy, outlook, objectives, plans,
 intentions or goals are also forward-looking statements.  Such forward-looking
 information involves important risks and uncertainties that could
 significantly affect results in the future and, accordingly, such results may
 differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on
 behalf of the company.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not
 limited to, those relating to economic conditions, the cyclical nature of the
 hotel business and the gaming business, competition, the effects of weather,
 legislative and regulatory matters, and reliance on key personnel.  For more
 information, review the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange
 Commission, including the company's annual report on Form 10-K for
 December 28, 2000 and certain registration statements of the company.
 
 
                       Aztar Corporation and Subsidiaries
                     Consolidated Statements of Operations
            For the periods ended March 29, 2001 and March 30, 2000
                     (in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                            First Quarter
                                                       2001           2000
     Revenues
       Casino                                        $166,297       $170,729
       Rooms                                           18,256         16,878
       Food and beverage                               14,467         14,291
       Other                                            9,324          9,626
                                                      208,344        211,524
 
     Costs and expenses
       Casino                                          72,979         74,805
       Rooms                                            9,351          8,730
       Food and beverage                               14,142         13,695
       Other                                            8,150          8,216
       Marketing                                       19,949         23,059
       General and administrative                      19,344         19,424
       Utilities                                        4,478          3,328
       Repairs and maintenance                          6,173          6,421
       Provision for doubtful accounts                    874          1,604
       Property taxes and insurance                     6,239          5,996
       Rent                                             4,907          4,085
       Depreciation and amortization                   12,996         13,720
                                                      179,582        183,083
 
     Operating income                                  28,762         28,441
 
       Interest income                                    388            341
       Interest expense                               (10,078)       (10,886)
 
     Income before other items and income taxes        19,072         17,896
 
       Equity in unconsolidated partnership's loss     (1,018)        (1,033)
 
     Income before income taxes                        18,054         16,863
 
       Income taxes                                    (6,663)        (5,839)
 
     Net income                                      $ 11,391       $ 11,024
 
     Net income per common share                     $    .29       $    .26
 
     Net income per common share assuming dilution   $    .28       $    .25
 
     Weighted-average common shares applicable to:
       Net income per common share                     38,212         42,366
       Net income per common share assuming dilution   39,592         43,753
 
 
 SOURCE  Aztar Corporation