Monarch Casino Reports 2011 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

MONARCH CASINO REPORTS 2011 FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS


RENO, NV February 23, 2012 - Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCRI) (the "Company"), owner of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa (the “Atlantis”) in Reno, Nevada, today announced fourth quarter and full year results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011.
RESULTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011
The Company reported net revenue of $34.0 million, which is $200 thousand, or 0.6%, higher than the $33.8 million reported for the comparative quarter in 2010. The Company had quarterly income from operations of $1.3 million, which represents an increase of $345 thousand, or 36.4%, when compared to the prior year’s fourth quarter. The prior year’s fourth quarter reflected a one-time, non-cash charge of $414 thousand related to the demolition of the Company’s 149 room motor lodge. Adjusted EBITDA1 for the fourth quarter of 2011 of $5.4 million was $200 thousand, or 3.8%, higher than the Adjusted EBITDA of $5.2 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth quarter 2011 food and beverage, hotel, and other operating revenues increased by 8.0%, 7.3%, and 10.0%, respectively, over the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth quarter 2011 casino revenues decreased by 2.7% compared to prior year’s fourth quarter.
Casino operating expense for the fourth quarter of 2011 decreased $465 thousand, or 4.6%, compared to the prior year’s fourth quarter, primarily due to lower players’ club liability expense and gaming taxes. As a percentage of casino revenue, fourth quarter 2011 casino operating expense decreased to 40.3% as compared to 41.1% in the prior year’s fourth quarter, due primarily to the lower operating costs described above.
Fourth quarter 2011 food and beverage operating expense, as a percentage of food and beverage revenue, decreased to 46.5% for the fourth quarter of 2011 as compared to 48.8% in the fourth quarter of the prior year, primarily due to menu price increases, in response to higher commodity costs, and lower repairs and maintenance expense. Hotel operating expense, as a percentage of hotel revenue, decreased to 27.6% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from 30.8% in the prior year’s fourth quarter due to the combination of increased hotel revenue and lower hotel operating expense. Selling, general, and administrative expense for the fourth quarter of 2011 increased by $697 thousand, or 5.7%, due primarily to professional fees related to the recently announced stock purchase agreement to acquire Riviera Black Hawk, Inc. (the ”Acquisition”).
The Company amended its credit facility effective November 15, 2011 which extended the facility’s maturity to November 16, 2016 and, subject to the closing of the Acquisition, increased the available borrowing capacity to $100 million. During the fourth quarter of 2011, the Company incurred net borrowings under the credit facility of $8.7 million related primarily to the exercise of the recently announced purchase option to acquire a 1.5 acre parcel of developable land contiguous to the Riviera Black Hawk casino. As a result, the outstanding balance of the credit facility increased from $16.0 million at September 30, 2011 to $24.7 million at December 31, 2011.
RESULTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011
For the full year, the Company had net revenue of $140.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA1 of $29.3 million, which represent decreases compared to the prior year of 1.0% and 0.7%, respectively. After giving effect to a $3.5 million one-time non-cash charge for the demolition of a free standing building proximate to the Atlantis, income from operations for 2011 was $9.8 million and diluted EPS was $0.35, which represent decreases compared to the prior year of 30.4% and 31.4%, respectively. Without the one-time charge, income from operations would have been $13.3 million and diluted EPS would have been $0.49 which would have represented decreases compared to the prior year of 5.3% and 3.9%, respectively. Casino revenue and hotel revenue for 2011 decreased by 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively, compared to 2010. Food and beverage revenue and other operating revenue for 2011 increased by 4.8% and 1.5%, respectively compared to 2010.
Casino operating expense for 2011 decreased $503 thousand, or 1.3%, compared to the prior year due primarily to lower payroll and benefits expense, lower game royalty fee expense and lower gaming taxes, all partially offset by higher complimentary food, beverages and other services provided to casino patrons (“Complimentaries”). As a percentage of casino revenue, casino operating expense increased slightly in 2011 to 39.3%, compared to 38.9% in the prior year due primarily to 2011’s lower casino revenues.
Food and beverage operating expense for 2011, as a percentage of food and beverage revenue, increased slightly to 46.3% as compared to 46.1% in the prior year. Hotel operating expense for 2011, as a percentage of hotel revenue, decreased slightly to 27.2% from 27.3% in the prior year. Selling, general, and administrative expense for 2011 decreased by $770 thousand, or 1.6%, due primarily to lower utilities expense, lower bad debt expense and lower payroll and benefits expense, all partially offset by higher professional fees related to the Acquisition.
During 2011, the Company paid down the principal under its credit facility by $3.9 million, net of borrowings of $8.4 million used to purchase a 1.5 acre parcel of developable land contiguous to the Riviera Black Hawk casino and $4.6 million to fund a deposit and professional fees related to the Acquisition. The outstanding balance of the credit facility decreased from $28.6 million at December 31, 2010 to $24.7 million at December 31, 2011.
Monarch’s CEO and Co-Chairman John Farahi commented: “During the fourth quarter of 2011, we exercised the purchase option we held on a 1.5 acre land parcel contiguous to the Riviera Black Hawk, and we are looking forward to closing the Riviera Black Hawk acquisition which remains on track to take place before the end of the second quarter of 2012.”
The Company’s 2012 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be held on Friday, June 1, 2012 at 10:00 am local time at the Company’s Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 South Virginia Street in Reno, Nevada. The record date for stockholders entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting is Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
Monarch, through its subsidiary Monarch Growth Inc., has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement to acquire Riviera Black Hawk, Inc., the owner of The Riviera Black Hawk. The Riviera Black Hawk opened in 2000 and is located in Black Hawk, Colorado, approximately 40 miles west of Denver. The property is the first casino encountered by visitors arriving from Denver on Highway 119 and features approximately 32,000 square feet of casino space, 750 slot machines, 8 table games, a 250 seat buffetstyle restaurant and a parking structure with approximately 500 spaces. Monarch owns a 1.5 acre land parcel contiguous to the Riviera Black Hawk that can be utilized for future expansion.
Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc., through its subsidiary, Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc., owns and operates the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, a hotel/casino facility in Reno, Nevada which features approximately 61,000 square feet of casino space; 824 guest rooms; eight food outlets; two espresso and pastry bars; an approximately 30,000 square foot health spa and salon with an enclosed year-round pool; two retail outlets offering clothing and traditional gift shop merchandise; an 8,000 square-foot family entertainment center; and approximately 52,000 square feet of banquet, convention and meeting room space. The casino features approximately 1,450 slot and video poker machines; approximately 38 table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, and others; a race and sports book; a 24-hour live keno lounge and a poker room. The Company and its predecessors have operated a facility on the Atlantis site since 1972.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which are subject to change, including, but not limited to, comments relating to (i) future operating performance; (ii) economic and market conditions, (iii) the liquidity requirements of the Company, (iv) completion of the Acquisition, (v) plans, objectives and expectations regarding the Acquisition, and (vi) integration of the Acquisition. Actual results and future events and conditions may differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which are available on the Company's web site at www.monarchcasino.com.
(1) "Adjusted EBITDA" - see the separate Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to operating income (as determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) as an indicator of the Company's operating performance, as an alternative to cash flows from operating activities (as determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) or as a measure of liquidity. This item enables comparison of the Company's performance with the performance of other companies that report Adjusted EBITDA, although some companies do not calculate this measure in the same manner and therefore, the measure as presented may not be comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other companies.

Contacts:

Lee Hernandez, Director of Planning & Analysis at (775) 335-4700 or LHernandez@MonarchCasino.com
Ron Rowan, CFO of Monarch at (775) 825-4700 or RRowan@MonarchCasino.com
John Farahi, CEO of Monarch at (775) 825-4700 or JFarahi@MonarchCasino.com

For additional information visit Monarch’s website at MonarchCasino.com