Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. has reported record Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023.
John Farahi, Co-Chairman and CEO of Monarch, commented: “Our 2023 fiscal year is off to a strong start as the operating momentum builds at Monarch in Black Hawk, Colorado. In Reno, the first quarter results were materially impacted by unprecedented weather disruptions in Northern California, which is a key feeder market for Atlantis. Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA grew to all-time first quarter records of $116.6 million and $36.5 million, respectively. The Company’s performance in Black Hawk was a primary driver in generating a healthy consolidated Adjusted EBITDA margin of 31.3% in what is historically our slowest quarter of the year in both markets.
“In Black Hawk, we continued to expand market share. All revenue categories, including casino, food and beverage and hotel continued their growth and we believe Monarch Black Hawk has yet to realize its full potential.
“At Atlantis, our primary focus remains the ongoing enhancement of the property. We believe, our newly installed casino carpet has revitalized the casino floor. The redesign and upgrade of the hotel rooms in the second tower is on schedule for an anticipated completion before Memorial Day 2023.
“With our strong balance sheet and free cash flow, Monarch remains ideally positioned to evaluate and act on potential acquisitions where we can employ our development and operating disciplines to drive long-term value for our stockholders. In the mean-time, we will continue to invest in our existing properties and remain committed to returning capital to stockholders. In the first quarter of 2023, we paid a one-time cash dividend of $5.00 per outstanding share of common stock. In the second quarter of 2023, we will pay cash dividend of $0.30 per outstanding share of common stock and we intend to continue to make quarterly payments as part of the previously announced annual cash dividend of $1.20 per share.
Summary of 2023 First Quarter Operating Results
In the first quarter of 2023, the Company generated net revenue of $116.6 million, an increase of 7.7% from $108.3 million in the prior year same quarter. Casino, food and beverage (F&B), and hotel revenues increased 6.5%, 12.6%, and 1.8% year over year, respectively. The revenue increase was driven primarily by the ongoing growth in business at Monarch Black Hawk.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses for the first quarter of 2023 were $25.1 million compared to $24.2 million in the prior-year period, driven primarily by increases in utility expense and repair and maintenance expense. As a percentage of net revenue, SG&A expense decreased to 21.5% compared to 22.3% in the prior-year period. Casino operating expense as a percentage of casino revenue increased to 37.7% during the first quarter of 2023 from 35.6% in the prior-year period, primarily due to increased labor expense. F&B operating expense as a percentage of F&B revenue decreased to 74.8% during the first quarter of 2023 from 79.6% in the prior-year period due to an increase in average check and improved cost management. Hotel operating expense as a percentage of hotel revenue increased to 41.3% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 38.0% in the same period a year ago, primarily due to a decrease in average daily rate and an increase in labor expense.
Income from operations for the first quarter of 2023 increased 8.5% compared to the same period last year. Net income decreased 2.5% compared to the same period last year and diluted EPS decreased 2.2% due primarily to an increase in the effective tax rate, which varies based on the amount of the excess tax benefit on stock compensation. The Company generated first quarter 2023 Adjusted EBITDA of $36.5 million, an increase of $2.1 million, or 6.2%, over the same period a year ago.
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