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Caesars Entertainment Loss Widens; Stock Down

U.S casino chain Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR), Monday reported a wider loss for the fourth quarter, hurt by hefty impairment charges and lower revenues stemming from Superstorm Sandy-spurred property closures in Atlantic City.

Looking ahead, Caesars, which made its debut on the Nasdaq last February, expects the Atlantic City region will continue to be challenged as a result of the slow recovery from the hurricane and competitive pressures.

Shares of the company lost more than 8 percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq.

Results for the quarter were hurt by impairment charge of $450 million related to Caesars' tangible assets of one of the properties in the Atlantic City Region.

Meanwhile, revenues in Atlantic City region properties slumped 19.2 percent from a year ago. Caesars estimate that the impact of Hurricane Sandy on net revenues was about $40 million to $45 million.

Revenues from its key Las Vegas region properties slid 3.2 percent, while Louisiana/Mississippi region edged down 0.2 percent. Revenues from Iowa/Missouri region slid 4.6 percent, and Illinois/Indiana region fell 2.2 percent.

On a consolidated basis, trips decreased from last year, while there was an increase in overall spend per trip, mainly on an 11.1 percent growth in the Las Vegas Region. Total quarterly cash average daily room rates declined 6 percent from a year ago, and occupancy slid 2.5 percentage points.

Overall, Las Vegas-based Caesars reported fourth-quarter revenues of $2.02 billion, down from $2.11 billion in the prior year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated revenues of $2.11 billion for the quarter.

The company posted a fourth quarter net loss of $469.7 million or $3.75 per share, compared with a net loss of $220.6 or $1.76 per share a year ago.

Analysts on consensus estimated a loss of $2.04 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Caesars' interest expense for the quarter totaled $527 million, compared with $674 million a year ago. The company said it has been taking steps to improve its capital structure and with a new $1.5 billion CEOC senior secured notes offering earlier this month, it received consent from lenders for an amendment to its credit facility.

The company said its cost-cutting measures produced $56.3 million in incremental cost savings during the quarter, and that it expects additional annual cost savings of $212.8 million.

Caesars closed Monday at $11.71, up 1.04%, on a volume of 1.7 million shares. In after hours, the stock dropped $0.96 or 8.20%. In the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $4.52 - $15.74.

by RTT Staff Writer

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