Increased revenues across Boyd Gaming Corp.'s properties and a strong showing from the Las Vegas market in particular helped the company narrow its fourth-quarter loss.
The company said Tuesday it had a net loss of $500,000, or 1 cent per share, compared with a loss of $7.1 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.
Boyd reported net revenues of more than $2 billion for 2011, up 1.6 percent from 2010. Quarterly revenues for the company's wholly owned business, including the recently acquired IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, Miss., were up 12.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, to about $429 million. The Borgata, Boyd's joint venture with MGM Resorts International in Atlantic City, reported revenues of $176.4 million, up 4.5 percent over the same period last year.
Analysts were particularly pleased with the Las Vegas market, which had increased visitation, lower unemployment and increased taxable sales in 2011, helping Boyd's bottom line.
During the company's Tuesday morning earnings conference call, Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith said the company is beginning to see revenue increase at its Las Vegas properties "for the first time in years."
Boyd reported that cash flow at its three downtown properties, the California, Fremont and Main Street Station, increased by 9.7 percent during 2011, buoyed by an uptick in visitation and gambling from the company's targeted Hawaiian market.
However, the increase was almost entirely negated by higher costs associated with Boyd's Hawaiian charter service.
Smith said the company has high hopes for downtown in light of the neighborhood's redevelopment.
"We're seeing the resurgence downtown; volumes on the Fremont Street Experience have increased," Smith said after the earnings call. "There's a lot of renewed interest down there these days."
More interest might mean more foot traffic for downtown casinos.
New nongaming businesses opening in the Fremont East Entertainment District, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts debuting next month and Zappos taking over the former City Hall in 2013 all bode well for Boyd's downtown properties, Smith said.
Boyd's locals casinos, including the Gold Coast and Sam's Town, also saw increased revenues in the fourth quarter, as well as an 8 percent increase in cash flow.
"The locals business is seeing improvement as stronger tourism on the Strip ripples through the Las Vegas community, giving more of Boyd's core customers discretionary spending power," Credit Suisse analyst Joel Simkins told investors. "Boyd has also done a great job managing costs during the downturn and see tremendous operating leverage as the top-line recovers."
Boyd faces increased competition in Atlantic City with the upcoming opening of Revel, but Smith said the company is prepared.
The Borgata's room remodeling project wraps up this year.
The company in the second quarter will launch an updated version of its B Connected rewards program website. No other major projects are in the works, nor are there any immediate plans for the unfinished Echelon site on the Strip, which has been shut down since August 2008.
Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at email@example.com or 702-387-5273.