Monarch Casino & Resort Reports Fourth Quarter Net Revenue of $59.8 Million, Net Income of $7.3 Million and Adjusted EBITDA of $13.4 Million

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RENO, Nev., Feb. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCRI) (“Monarch” or “the Company”) today reported operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2018, as summarized below:(1) As described in the section below entitled “New Revenue Recognition Standard,” the Company has changed its revenue recognition policy effective January 1, 2018. This change resulted in a $585 thousand and $936 thousand increase in Net revenue for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018, respectively. Please see the reconciliation provided at the end of this release for more information related to the changes in revenues and expenses.
(2) 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: “The 2018 fourth quarter completed a productive year, with record financial performance at Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno and consistent progress towards the anticipated opening of the transformed Monarch Casino Black Hawk later in 2019. In the fourth quarter, Monarch generated net revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth of 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively, as strong top-line performance was partially offset by the ongoing impact of higher labor expenses across our business and construction disruption in Black Hawk.
“Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa generated record fourth quarter revenue and EBITDA. Reno’s ongoing revitalization drove strong visitation and equally strong gaming trends as our team leveraged Atlantis’ best-in-class amenities to maintain our strong market share.“Fourth quarter financial performance at Monarch Casino Black Hawk was impacted by the ongoing construction and increased labor expenses, including management-level hiring in anticipation of the commencement of our expanded operations later this year. Black Hawk results for the 2018 fourth quarter were also impacted by a gaming system conversion issue, which weighed heavily on promotional expenses.“Our Monarch Casino Black Hawk general contractor has informed us that the new expanded casino, hotel tower, restaurants and retail areas will be completed in the third quarter of 2019 and that the upgraded amenities in the existing casino will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.“Since acquiring the former Riviera Black Hawk in 2012, we have been executing our vision for transforming the property into Black Hawk’s leading gaming and entertainment resort destination and remain confident in our ability to generate an attractive return on our ongoing investment. This investment, combined with our growth in Reno and our industry-best balance sheet, positions Monarch to drive long-term stockholder value.”New Revenue Recognition Standard
On January 1, 2018, the Company adopted accounting standard update No. 2014-09 (“ASC 606”) and all the related amendments (“new revenue standard”) to all contracts which provides consistency in the reported financial information within the gaming industry. The Company applied the modified retrospective method and recognized the cumulative effect of the initial application of the new revenue standard as an adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings. The opening retained earnings adjustment primarily related to the change in the accounting for the slot club liability from the immediate revenue/cost method to the deferred revenue method.
The new revenue standard also resulted in reclassifications to and from revenues, promotional allowances and operating expenses. Pursuant to the new revenue standard, food and beverage, hotel and other complimentaries are now valued at their retail price and included as revenues within their respective categories, with a corresponding decrease in gaming revenues, as the offsetting amount historically included in promotional allowances has been eliminated. In addition, the cost of providing these complimentary goods and services are now included as expenses within their respective categories, resulting in a corresponding decrease in casino expenses. While those changes resulted in a $585 thousand and $936 thousand increase in net revenue for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018, respectively, they had no impact on adjusted EBITDA, net income or EPS (basic and diluted).Financial results for the three months and twelve months ended December 31, 2017 have not been restated and are reported under the accounting standards in effect during those periods. The Company has provided reconciliation between the new revenue standard and the old revenue standard for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018 at the end of this release.Summary of 2018 Fourth Quarter Operating Results
For the 2018 fourth quarter, consolidated net revenues of $59.8 million increased 6.6% from $56.1 million in the prior year. Casino revenues declined 28.0% year over year, while food and beverage revenues increased 14.0% and hotel revenues increased 23.1%, primarily reflecting the previously announced change in revenue recognition accounting. Please see “Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. and Subsidiaries Reconciliation of Post to Pre ASC 606 Adoption” below for more information.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses for the fourth quarter of 2018 were $17.7 million compared to $16.6 million in the prior year period, driven primarily by higher labor expense, in addition to increased management staffing in preparation for the opening of the Black Hawk expansion later this year. As a percentage of net revenue, SG&A expenses were 29.6% in both the 2018 and 2017 fourth quarter periods. Casino operating expense as a percentage of casino revenue decreased to 34.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 41.9% in the fourth quarter of 2017 due to the adoption of the new revenue standard and operational efficiencies. Food and beverage operating expense as a percentage of food and beverage revenue increased to 76.7% during the fourth quarter of 2018 from 39.1% a year ago due to the adoption of the new revenue standard. Hotel operating expense as a percentage of hotel revenue increased to 46.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 38.1% in the same period in the prior year, primarily as a result of the adoption of the new revenue standard as well as an increase in labor expenses, partially offset by operational efficiencies.The Company generated consolidated adjusted EBITDA of $13.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of $0.8 million, or 6.7%, over the same period a year ago. Net income and diluted EPS for the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 65.1% and 69.6%, respectively, partially benefiting from a lower tax rate as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted late in 2017.Monarch Black Hawk Expansion
Summarized below is an update on the Company’s ongoing upgrade and expansion of Monarch Casino Black Hawk, including the budgeted costs and completion dates for the project as well as the amounts spent through December 31, 2018: 
As previously stated, our Monarch Casino Black Hawk general contractor has informed us that our new expanded casino, hotel tower, restaurants and retail areas will be completed in the third quarter of 2019 and that the upgraded amenities in the existing casino will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.Credit Facility and Liquidity
Capital expenditures of $43.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 include construction costs related to the Monarch Casino Black Hawk expansion and ongoing capital maintenance spending. Capital expenditures were funded from the Company’s operating cash flows as well as $25.2 million of borrowings against Monarch’s Amended Credit Facility during the quarter. The amount of borrowings outstanding on Monarch’s $250.0 million Amended Credit Facility as of December 31, 2018 was $94.5 million.
All interest in the fourth quarter of 2018 was capitalized, compared to $328 thousand of interest expense, net of amounts capitalized, in the fourth quarter of 2017.Monarch continues to believe that its operating cash flow and the $154.9 million available under its Amended Credit Facility will be sufficient to fund all remaining costs related to the completion of the Monarch Casino Black Hawk expansion, as well as our capital expenditures plans at Atlantis, RenoForward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements relating to (i) our plans, objectives, near- and long-term outlook, opportunities, expectations, growth prospects and future operations with respect to Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and Monarch Casino Black Hawk and the markets in their respective regions; (ii) our plans, costs, financing, and additional expenses and revenue opportunities as a result of project and budget modifications, construction, completion and opening timelines of upgraded, redesigned and/or expanded facilities at Monarch Casino Black Hawk; and (iii) our expectations regarding our future position in the market and the quality of service we provide to our guests. Actual results and future events and conditions may differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements. 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, disruptions, increased costs of labor and materials, contractor disagreements, availability of labor and materials, zoning issues, environmental restrictions, soil and water conditions, weather and other hazards, site access matters, building permit issues and other regulatory approvals or issues;we have not yet entered into a guaranteed maximum price (“GMP”) construction contract with our Monarch Casino Black Hawk general contractor and negotiation of the GMP may involve disagreements between the parties, including potential disagreements over costs of and responsibility for delays and other construction related matters;components of our Monarch Casino Black Hawk construction project will be outside the scope of any GMP contract;access to available and reasonable financing on a timely basis;our ability to generate sufficient operating cash flow to help finance our expansion plans;our ability to effectively manage expenses to optimize its margins and operating results;changes in laws and regulations permitting expanded and other forms of gaming in our key markets;the effects of local and national economic, credit and capital market conditions on the economy in general and on the gaming industry and our business in particular;guest acceptance of our expanded facilities once completed and the resulting impact on our market position, growth and future financial results; andcompetition in our target market areasAdditional information concerning potential factors that could adversely affect all forward-looking statements, including the Company’s financial results, is included in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which are available on our website at 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 in Black Hawk, Colorado, approximately 40 miles west of Denver. For additional information on Monarch, visit Monarch’s website at

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