Pinnacle Entertainment 4th quarter loss narrows

Friday, February 5, 2010 | 5:55 p.m. CST

LAS VEGAS — Casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. said Friday that its fourth-quarter loss narrowed, as it had fewer write-downs and lowered expenses to contend with a soft market and pullback in spending.

The gaming sector has come under pressure during the recession as gamblers have spent less on slot machines and table games and has also clamped down on how much money they use for food, drinks and other purchases.

Pinnacle lost $242 million, or $4.03 per share, compared with a loss of $297.7 million, or $4.97 per share, in the prior year.

Not including pre-opening and development costs and other items, the company's adjusted loss was 39 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a smaller loss of 10 cents per share.

Pinnacle had $207 million in writedowns, less than the $313 million in noncash write-downs a year ago.

Revenue for October, November and December fell 5 percent to $245 million from $258.9 million, citing declines in gaming, food and beverage, lodging, retail and entertainment revenue.

The performance missed Wall Street's estimate of $254.4 million.

"While the first half of the year was solid, the continuing deterioration of the economy resulted in less visitation and lower play per customer," interim CEO John Giovenco said in a statement.

To help offset some of the revenue drop-off, Pinnacle reduced its expenses and other costs to $468.7 million from $568.1 million during the quarter.

The casino operator's full-year loss shrunk to $258.3 million, or $4.30 per share, from a loss of $322.6 million, or $5.38 per share, in 2008.

Adjusted loss was 13 cents per share.

Annual revenue was nearly flat at $1.05 billion.

Pinnacle Entertainment owns and runs casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri and Argentina.

The company's stock shed 17 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $7.25 in Friday morning trading.


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