Fourth quarter revenues down 5.4 percent; total revenue flat for year

Pinnacle Entertainment reported a 5.4 percent decline in revenues in the fourth quarter to $245 million.

For the three months ended December 31, 2009, the company posted a net loss of $242 million after $207 million in non-cash write-downs and $5 million in severance costs related to the departure last year of CEO Dan Lee.

The company recorded a $298 million loss in 2008 after $313 million in non-cash write-downs.

Revenue for 2009 was roughly flat compared with 2008 at $1 billion. Net loss for the year was $258 million, including $207 million in non-cash write-downs, compared with a $323 million loss in 2008, after $318 million in non-cash write-downs.

EBITDA for the quarter declined 51 percent to $22.5 million, which the company attributed in part to weaker performance at two of its Louisiana casinos and its Indiana casino. EBITDA for the year was up 5.2 percent to $168 million, benefiting from strong performances by Lumiere Place in the St. Louis area, the company’s newest casino, and Boomtown Bossier City in Louisiana.

“The fourth quarter was a tough one for us, and we’re disappointed,” said interim CEO John Giovenco. “The continuing deterioration of the economy resulted in less visitation and lower play per customer. We started to feel the economic downturn in late summer and we increased our marketing efforts. As a result, we maintained or increased market share in many of our larger markets, but our margins declined.”

Publicly traded Pinnacle owns and operates casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri and Argentina and has casinos under construction in the St. Louis area and Lake Charles, La.