Ameristar Casinos reports fourth-quarter profit decline

Ameristar Casinos Inc. on Wednesday posted a decline in fourth-quarter profits to $7.4 million, from last year’s $10.9 million. The Las Vegas-based gaming company said the decline primarily reflected higher-stock-based compensation expense.

Per-share earnings, however, improved to 22 cents per share in the fourth quarter from 18 cents for the same period last year on a lower share count. Adjusted earnings were 21 cents per share compared to 19 cents in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Fourteen analysts polled by Yahoo Finance estimated earnings of 35 cents a share. Analysts’ estimates usually exclude special items.

Revenue increased 0.7 percent to $296.2 million from $294.1 million. Analysts estimated revenues of
$297.1 million.

For the full year, Ameristar reported net revenues of $1.21 billion, a $25.2 million, or 2.1 percent, increase from $1.19 billion in 2010.

Net income was $6.8 million, or
$1.74 a share, down $8.6 million from $15.4 million, or 73 cents a share, in 2010. The company attributed the decline in net income to early retirement of $85.3 million in debt, and a charge off of $33.2 million related to its casino in East Chicago.

Analysts estimated 2011 earnings of $1.81 a share on net revenues of
$1.22 billion.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at or 702-477-3893.

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