Caesars Entertainment posts loss of $1.01 billion in 4th quarter, $2.77 billion annually



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    LAS VEGAS — LAS VEGAS — The gambling gods were not kind to Caesars Entertainment Corp. in the fourth quarter.

    The Las Vegas company reported a loss of over $1 billion during the final three months of the year that featured what its CEO called an "unprecedented" run of bad luck at its flagship casino, Caesars Palace, that led to the house dropping $60 million at its own table games.

    The losing streak at Caesars Palace, along with the costs to start up new restaurants and properties as well as overhead expenses, was enough to offset encouraging new revenue from its properties online and on the ground, said Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman in a conference call with financial analysts Monday.

    Caesars Entertainment reported a $1.01 billion loss in its fourth quarter, or $7 per share. Losses, adjusted for asset impairment costs and costs related to mergers and acquisitions were $3.56 per share.

    The casino operator posted revenue of $2.13 billion in the period. In last year's quarter, it posted a loss of $1.76 billion, or $12.83 a share, on revenue of $2 billion.

    Caesars Entertainment's overall casino revenues rose 1.6 percent to $1.37 billion. But the $60 million in losses at Caesars Palace, the faux-Roman Empire on the Las Vegas Strip, during the fourth quarter weighed in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the measure used in the hotel industry to compare financials. That measure fell to $372 million in the quarter, down 8 percent compared to a year ago.

    For the year, the company reported that its loss narrowed to $2.77 billion, or $19.45 per share. Revenue was reported as $8.52 billion.

    The company has had an eventful few months.

    Its largest and most debt-heavy subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection in January with the aim of shedding some $10 billion in debt. Loveman also recently said he would leave his post June 30 but remain the company's chairman, overseeing Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.'s bankruptcy restructuring. Mark Frissora, the former CEO of rental car company Hertz, has been hired to replace him.

    "I'm really quite optimistic about 2015," Loveman said.

    Last year was filled with new openings for the company, with the debut of The Cromwell redesign and the Linq promenade and hotel, as well as the High Roller, the company's highly visible, 550-foot-tall observation wheel.

    The company said nearly 5,000 people rode the wheel every day in the last three months of the year, up 10 percent compared to the prior quarter.

    Loveman said he was particularly encouraged by revenue at Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the subsidiary that owns the World Series of Poker and the company's online social games, which grew by $61 million in the quarter, up 64 percent, and $270 million for the year, up 85 percent.

    He said the number of people spending real money to play its online social games grew to 657,000, who spend 28 cents each on average.

    He contrasted that division's efforts to that of traditional slot machine suppliers who he said haven't done enough to modernize the games to appeal to changing customer tastes.

    "I remain very concerned that the product is antiquated," he said of slot machines.

    Caesars shares fell 65 cents, or 6 percent, to $10.37 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report. Through the close of regular-session trading Monday, they have declined 30 percent since the beginning of the year.

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    Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MGM at http://www.zacks.com/ap/MGM

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    Keywords: Caesars Entertainment, Earnings Report

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