|By Liz Benston, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 21, 2011--Sun coverage (business):
M Resort's new owner Thursday reported double-digit increases in second quarter earnings and revenue companywide that were driven by cost-cutting measures and a slowly improving economy.
Penn National Gaming, which acquired M Resort in Henderson in June, reported $43 million in revenue in the second quarter and $6 million in second-quarter earnings at the resort before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- a key profit indicator in the casino business. Those figures represent year-over-year increases of 3 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The property's occupancy was 91 percent in June.
Overall, 13 of the Pennsylvania-based company's 15 casinos nationwide reported higher second quarter earnings compared with a year ago.
Recent efforts to market the M to thousands of Penn National customers nationwide have boosted business at the resort, which has struggled in the recession. Penn bought the resort, located at the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard, from its bank lenders at a vast discount.
Penn, which has multiple casino projects underway nationwide, is trolling for casinos in Las Vegas and beyond. The company has expressed interest in acquiring a major resort on the Strip, though executives offered no further information Thursday on potential discussions.
Penn has emerged as one of the nation's best-capitalized casino companies after it avoided a potentially ruinous acquisition by a private equity firm as the economy worsened. Penn has even more purchasing power after obtaining $2.15 billion in new financing this week.
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