uring a conference call with analysts and investors, Penn National Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter Carlino said prices were too high.
"We would love to get a Strip property," Carlino said. "But we believe selling multiples now don’t reflect reality. Our interest is clearly only in a Strip property, something that will benefit our current customer base around the United States and Canada. I think we are going to have to let this play out longer."
In the conference call, Penn National Gaming said it lost us$ 378.6 million in the fourth quarter and told investors its first-quarter profit won’t meet expectations. The Pennsylvania-based gaming company said it lost us$ 4.77 per share in the quarter ended December 31, reversing a fourth-quarter profit of us$ 32.2 million, or 36 cents, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted that Penn National would earn 37 cents per share in the quarter.
Penn National has about us$ 1.5 billion in cash, the proceeds from an aborted private equity deal.
Stifel Nicolaus gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski said Wall Street is waiting for the company to make its move on the Strip. "Until Penn shows its hand in regards to acquisitions or capital deployment, an overhang will remain over the shares," he said in a note to investors.
Penn National reported revenues of us$ 571.1 million, a 2.5 percent decline compared with us$ 585.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. "In our view, these were solid results in light of incredibly tough industry fundamentals," JP Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff said.
Penn National told Wall Street it thought its first quarter earnings, which cover the first three months of 2009, will be us$ 33.8 million, or 31 cents per share, far below analysts estimates.