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Record cash flow boosts Golden Entertainment’s 1Q earnings

Executives with Golden Entertainment Inc. figure its Strat resort is in a good spot.

With the new Circa and the downtown arts district able to push traffic south and the soon-to-open Resorts World Las Vegas and new convention center amenities at the Las Vegas Convention Center able to push traffic north, the Strat is positioned to catch two waves of business that seem to have made big advances in the first quarter.

Golden reported a 15.7 percent increase in revenue for the quarter that ended March 31 to reach the highest adjusted cash flow numbers in company history.

“Our first quarter operating results reflect significantly improved revenue and net income, and record quarterly adjusted cash flow,” said Golden Chairman and CEO Blake Sartini. “These results highlight strong demand at our properties combined with substantial margin improvement due to the adjustments we have made to our operations.”

Sartini said the company generated more than $40 million cash in the quarter across its casino and distributed gaming segments — the slot route it operates with its PT’s Pub taverns and a Montana route.

“As the year continues, we expect that our free cash flow will allow us to reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders while also providing added financial flexibility to pursue potential strategic growth initiatives,” Sartini said.

Golden reported net income of $10.6 million, 35 cents a share, on revenue of $239.7 million for the quarter. A year ago, the company reported a net loss of $32.6 million, $1.17, on revenue of $207.2 million.

In a conference call with investors, Golden President and Chief Financial Officer Charles Protell said the company is now focused on deleveraging the company’s balance sheet and determining the best way to return capital to shareholders. Protell said the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the return of conventions and trade shows. Even though the Strat doesn’t have the facilities to host any large shows, it can accommodate affiliated events with its amenities.

A series of concerts and special events coming on the calendar in the months ahead should be beneficial to Golden’s showcase resort. In the month of April, Sartini said the Strat sold out its allowable hotel rooms every weekend.

Golden also is well-positioned to generate revenue from its Laughlin operations.

Brad Goldberg, Golden’s senior vice president of marketing, said a concert series in the Laughlin Event Center should fill rooms at Golden’s Aquarius and Edgewater properties. Live music is on the summer calendar with America, Darci Lynne, the Little River Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith scheduled throughout the summer.

Golden Entertainment stock, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, closed down Thursday by 50 cents a share, 1.4 percent, to $35.75 a share with trading about twice the daily average volume.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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