Monarch Casino & Resort Reports 2015 Fourth Quarter Net Revenue

MONARCH CASINO & RESORT REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER NET REVENUE OF $51.5 MILLION AND FOURTH QUARTER ADJUSTED EBITDA OF $12.4 MILLION

Company Reports Record Full Year Adjusted EBITDA of $50.0 Million

RENO, NV, February 24, 2016 – Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCRI) (“Monarch” or “the Company”) today reported operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2015, as summarized below:
($ in thousands, except per share data and percentages)
                Three Months Ended December 31,  Twelve Months Ended December 31,
                --------------------- ---------- --------------------- ----------
                                      Increase/                        Increase/
                   2015       2014    (Decrease)    2015       2014    (Decrease)
                ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
Net revenue     $   51,485 $   45,859    12.3%   $  202,245 $  187,767     7.7%
Adjusted 
EBITDA(1)           12,398      9,536    30.0%       50,041     43,475    15.1%
Net income      $    5,123  $   3,811    34.4%   $   20,659 $   14,185    45.6%
                ========== ========== ========== ========== ========== ==========
Basic EPS       $     0.30 $     0.23    30.4%   $     1.22 $     0.85    43.6%
Diluted EPS     $     0.29 $     0.22    31.8%   $     1.19 $     0.83    43.4%

(1)Definitions, disclosures and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial information are included later in the release.

CEO Comment
John Farahi, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch, commented, “We generated a 12.3% rise in net revenue and a 30.0% increase in Adjusted EBITDA in the 2015 fourth quarter, concluding a strong year for Monarch. Our solid fourth quarter results were driven by top-line and Adjusted EBITDA growth at both Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and Monarch Casino Black Hawk while our 2015 full year Adjusted EBITDA of $50.0 million is an all-time high for Monarch.
“Throughout 2015, we strengthened the competitive position of both of our properties and leveraged the unique growth opportunities presented by each of their markets. In Reno, Atlantis benefited from the city’s ongoing renaissance which is attracting new businesses, additional economic activity and increased employment. Consistent with our focus on continuously improving our facilities and their offerings, we plan to bolster Atlantis’ position as Northern Nevada’s premier casino resort through additional property enhancements over the next two quarters. In March 2016, we expect to open our redesigned and upgraded Toucan Charlie’s Buffet. Additionally, we expect to complete the conversion of leased land and buildings adjacent to Atlantis into 300 additional surface parking spaces during the second quarter, increasing the amount of surface parking adjacent to Atlantis by approximately 34%. This new area will provide needed parking, convenient guest access to primary casino floor entrances and a direct route to Atlantis from an additional major local traffic artery.
“Monarch Black Hawk’s strong fourth quarter performance was driven by a full quarter of contribution from the recently completed redesign and upgrade of the gaming floor. After nearly seven quarters of construction, we are again operating with a full complement of gaming positions including approximately 700 slot machines and 14 table games. We remain on-track to complete and open the property’s new parking structure late in the second quarter of 2016. Following the completion of the parking structure, we plan to raze the existing parking structure in the third quarter and break ground on the new hotel tower, expanded casino and additional restaurants in the fourth quarter of 2016, with completion of the full project expected in the third quarter of 2018.
“As we look to 2016, we are confident that our focus on guest service, prudent expense management and continuing property upgrades, as well as positive Reno and Black Hawk market trends, position Monarch to generate another year of strong financial results.”
Summary of 2015 Fourth Quarter Operating Results
For the 2015 fourth quarter, consolidated net revenues of $51.5 million increased 12.3% year-over-year, driven by growth at both Atlantis and Monarch Black Hawk. Casino revenues rose 11.7% on a year-over-year basis, food and beverage revenues grew 10.7% and hotel revenues increased 14.8%. Consolidated promotional allowances increased $0.9 million, or 9.0%. As a percentage of gross revenues, promotional allowances decreased to 18.0% from 18.4% in the prior year fourth quarter.
Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA increased $2.9 million, or 30.0%, year-over-year to $12.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Casino operating expenses as a percentage of casino revenues declined to 41.8% for the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to 44.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014 primarily due to higher casino revenues. Food and beverage operating expense as a percentage of food and beverage revenues for the 2015 fourth quarter decreased to 39.0% from 42.4% in the 2014 fourth quarter due primarily to operating cost efficiencies and menu price increases. Hotel operating expenses as a percentage of hotel revenues increased to 35.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to 28.0% in the prior year due primarily to higher repairs and maintenance expense.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A") expenses for the 2015 fourth quarter increased $1.4 million, or 10.7%, over the 2014 fourth quarter, driven primarily by higher payroll and repairs and maintenance expenses.
Monarch Black Hawk Expansion
Summarized below is an update on the Company’s ongoing upgrade and expansion of Monarch Black Hawk, including the expected costs and completion dates for the project as well as the amounts spent through December 31, 2015:
$ in millions
                      --------------------------------------------------
                            Total Spent Through
                                December 31,  Left to      Estimated
                         Cost       2015       Spend    Completion Date
                      --------- ------------ --------- -----------------
I. Existing Facility
   Monarch Casino 
     Black Hawk (1)      $76        $76          -         Complete
   Existing Facility                                   Interior completed;
     Upgrade (2)(3)    $34-$36      $18       $16-$18  Exterior 2016-2017
                      --------- ------------ ---------
     Total Existing 
       Facility       $110-$112     $94       $16-$18
                      --------- ------------ ---------
II. Expansion
   Acquired Land
     Parcels             $10        $10          -         Completed
   Parking
     Structure (3)     $38-$41      $28       $10-13         2Q16
   Hotel Tower & 
     Casino (4)       $229-$234      -       $229-$234       3Q18
   Other (3)            $8-$10      $8         $0-$2         3Q18
                      --------- ------------ ---------
     Total Expansion  $285-$295     $46      $239-$249
                      --------- ------------ ---------
     Total Cost       $395-$407     $140     $255-$267
                      ========= ============ =========
(1) The Company paid $76.0 million cash or $69.2 million net of acquired working capital and NOLs when it acquired Monarch Black Hawk (formerly Riviera Black Hawk Casino).
(2) Includes upgrades to interior, which was completed in August 2015, and exterior of existing facility to match the design of the master planned expansion.
(3) The Company expects to fund the amount left to spend primarily from operating cash flow and, to a lesser extent, from its credit facility.
(4) The Company anticipates funding the hotel tower and casino expansion from a combination of operating cash flow and an expansion or replacement of its credit facility.
During the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company made further progress on construction of the facility’s new parking structure. The Company continues to expect that it will complete the structure and open it to the public late in the second quarter of 2016. Following the completion of the new parking structure, the existing parking structure will be razed and construction of the hotel tower and casino expansion will begin with an expected completion date in the third quarter of 2018.
Credit Facility
During the 2015 fourth quarter, the Company made net borrowings of $3.0 million, which increased the amount outstanding on its credit facility to $40.9 million at December 31, 2015. Capital expenditures of $13.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 primarily represent costs related to the Monarch Black Hawk master development plan and were funded from a combination of the Company’s operating cash flows and credit facility borrowings.
Interest expense for the 2015 fourth quarter decreased to $0.1 million from $0.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 due to lower average outstanding borrowings and a lower cost of borrowings in the 2015 fourth quarter compared to the 2014 fourth quarter.
2016 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting Date
The Company’s 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be held on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 10:00am PDT at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, which is located at 3800 South Virginia Street in Reno, Nevada. The record date for stockholders entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting is April 15, 2016.
Forward-Looking Statements
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) plans, objectives and expectations regarding Atlantis and/or Monarch Black Hawk; and (iv) plans, costs, financing, construction, completion and opening timelines of upgraded, redesigned and/or expanded facilities at Monarch Black Hawk. Actual results and future events and conditions may differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements. With respect to the Monarch Black Hawk master development plan and expansion project, important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in the forward-looking statements include, without limitation:
  • construction factors, including delays, increased costs of labor and materials, availability of labor and materials, zoning issues, environmental restrictions, soil and water conditions, weather and other hazards, site access matters and building permit issues;
  • access to available and reasonable financing on a timely basis, including the ability of the Company to expand or replace its credit facility on acceptable terms;
  • changes in laws and regulations permitting expanded and other forms of gaming in our key markets; and
  • the effects of local and national economic, credit and capital market conditions on the economy, in general, and on the gaming industry, in particular.
Additional information concerning potential factors that could affect all forward looking statements, including the Company's financial results is included in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which are available on the Company's website at www.MonarchCasino.com.
.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Please see the separate Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income (unaudited) below.
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.
About Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc.
Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, a hotel/casino facility in Reno, Nevada, and the Monarch Casino Black Hawk (formerly the Riviera Black Hawk Casino) in Black Hawk, Colorado, approximately 40 miles west of Denver. For additional information on Monarch, visit Monarch's website at www.MonarchCasino.com.
.
The Atlantis features approximately 61,000 square feet of casino space; 824 guest rooms; eight food outlets; two espresso and pastry bars; a 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 37 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 acquired Monarch Casino Black Hawk, the first casino encountered by visitors arriving from Denver on Highway 119, in April 2012. The property features approximately 30,000 square feet of casino space, approximately 700 slot machines, 14 table games, a 250 seat buffet-style restaurant, a snack bar and a parking structure with approximately 500 spaces. Once completed, the Monarch Black Hawk expansion will nearly double the casino space and will add a 23 story hotel tower with approximately 500 guest rooms and suites, an upscale spa and pool facility, three restaurants (bringing the total to four restaurants), additional bars, a new parking structure and associated support facilities. The planned nine story parking structure will increase total parking on site from approximately 500 spaces to approximately 1,500 parking spaces.


Contacts:
David Farahi
Chief Operating Officer (775) 825-4700 or dfarahi@monarchcasino.com

Joseph Jaffoni, Richard Land, James Leahy
JCIR
212/835-8500 or mcri@jcir.com


- financial tables follow -
           MONARCH CASINO & RESORT, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
               (in thousands, except per share data)

                      Three months ended      Twelve months ended
                          December 31,            December 31,
                    ----------------------- -----------------------
                       2015        2014        2015        2014
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
                    (unaudited) (unaudited) (unaudited)
Revenues
 Casino             $   39,459  $   35,324  $  156,843  $  145,134 
 Food and beverage      14,697      13,271      56,500      52,314 
 Hotel                   5,418       4,719      22,629      21,733 
 Other                   3,207       2,907      11,198      10,394 
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Gross revenues        62,781      56,221     247,170     229,575 
 Less promotional 
  allowances           (11,296)    (10,362)    (44,925)    (41,808)
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Net revenues          51,485      45,859     202,245     187,767
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
Operating expenses
 Casino                 16,493      15,701      65,970      61,583 
 Food and beverage       5,734       5,629      22,249      21,410 
 Hotel                   1,918       1,319       6,787       5,992 
 Other                   1,014         891       3,963       3,545 
 Selling, general 
  and administrative    14,534      13,132      54,779      52,987 
 Depreciation and 
  amortization           3,776       4,320      15,933      17,824
 Loss on disposition
  of assets                 29          94           9         343 
 Colorado ballot 
  initiative costs           -          19           -       1,864 
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Total operating 
   expenses             43,498      41,105     169,690     165,548
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Income from 
   operations            7,987       4,754      32,555      22,219
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- ----------- 
Other expenses
 Interest expense,
  net of amounts 
  capitalized             (142)       (288)       (679)     (1,104)
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Total other 
   expenses               (142)       (288)       (679)     (1,104)
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Income before 
   income taxes          7,845       4,466      31,876      21,115
Provision for 
 income taxes           (2,722)       (655)    (11,217)     (6,930)
                    ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
  Net income        $    5,123  $     3,811 $   20,659  $   14,185 
                    =========== =========== =========== ===========
Earnings per share of common stock
 Net income
  Basic             $     0.30  $     0.23  $     1.22  $     0.85 
  Diluted           $     0.29  $     0.22  $     1.19  $     0.83 

Weighted average number of
common shares and potential
common shares outstanding
  Basic                 17,094      16,806      16,948      16,734 
  Diluted               17,483      17,097      17,335      17,107
 
 
        MONARCH CASINO & RESORT, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
             CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                 (in thousands, except shares)

                                        December 31, December 31,
                                            2015         2014
                                        ------------ ------------
                    ASSETS              (unaudited)
Current assets
  Cash and cash equivalents             $    21,164  $    21,583 
  Receivables, net                            3,729        3,047 
  Income taxes receivable                       611        1,139 
  Inventories                                 2,881        2,846 
  Prepaid expenses                            3,402        4,021 
  Deferred income taxes                           -        1,626 
                                        ------------ ------------
    Total current assets                     31,787       34,262 
                                        ------------ ------------
Property and equipment
  Land                                       29,549       29,415 
  Land improvements                           6,701        6,701 
  Buildings                                 150,966      150,821 
  Buildings improvements                     23,255       18,142
  Furniture and equipment                   134,704      125,671 
  Construction in progress                   37,424       15,672 
  Leasehold improvements                      1,347        1,347 
                                        ------------ ------------
                                            383,946      347,769 
  Less accumulated depreciation 
  and amortization                         (180,792)    (167,498)
                                        ------------ ------------
    Net property and equipment              203,154      180,271 
Other assets
    Goodwill                                 25,111       25,111
    Intangible assets, net                    6,200        7,366 
    Deferred income taxes                     7,415        4,682 
    Other assets, net                         1,179          609
                                        ------------ ------------
  Total other assets                         39,905       37,768 
                                        ------------ ------------
    Total assets                        $   274,846  $   252,301
                                        ============ ============

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Current liabilities
  Current portion of long-term debt     $    40,900  $         -
  Accounts payable                            6,747        7,933 
  Construction accounts payable               1,407        1,790 
  Accrued expenses                           21,873       19,327 
                                        ------------ ------------
    Total current liabilities                70,927       29,050 
                                        ------------ ------------
Long - term debt                                  -       46,300 
                                        ------------ ------------
  Total liabilities                          70,927       75,350 
                                        ------------ ------------
Stockholders' equity
  Preferred stock, $.01 par value, 10,000,000 
   shares authorized; none issued                 -            -
  Common stock, $.01 par value, 
   30,000,000 shares authorized;                191          191
   19,096,300 shares issued; 
   17,202,699 outstanding at December 31, 2015;
   16,812,794 outstanding at December 31, 2014
  Additional paid-in capital                 22,728       22,985 
  Treasury stock, 
   1,893,601 shares at December 31, 2015;
   2,283,506 shares at                      (26,404)     (32,970)
  Retained earnings                         207,404      186,745 
                                        ------------ ------------
    Total stockholders' equity              203,919      176,951
                                        ------------ ------------
    Total liabilities and 
     stockholders' equity               $   274,846  $   252,301 
                                        ============ ============

       MONARCH CASINO & RESORT, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
       RECONCILIATION OF ADJUSTED EBITDA TO NET INCOME
                  (In thousands, Unaudited)

  The following table sets forth a reconciliation of Adjusted 
  EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, to net income, a GAAP 
  financial measure:

                          Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Ended
                             December 31,          December 31,
                        --------------------- ---------------------
                           2015       2014       2015       2014
                        ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
Adjusted EBITDA (1)     $  12,398  $   9,536  $  50,041  $  43,475
Expenses:
  Stock based 
   compensation              (606)      (349)    (1,544)    (1,225)
  Depreciation and 
   amortization            (3,776)    (4,320)   (15,933)   (17,824)
  Colorado ballot 
   initiative costs             -        (19)         -     (1,864)
  Interest expense           (142)      (288)      (679)    (1,104)
  Loss on disposition 
   of assets                  (29)       (94)        (9)      (343)
  Provision for 
   income taxes            (2,722)      (655)   (11,217)    (6,930)
                        ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
   Net income           $   5,123  $   3,811  $  20,659  $  14,185
                        ========== ========== ========== ==========
(1)Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, consists of net income plus loss on disposal of assets, provision for income taxes, stock based compensation expense, other one-time charges, interest expense, depreciation and amortization less interest income, any benefit for income taxes and gain on disposal of assets. 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.


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