It wasn't a flashy quarter, but Caesars Entertainment (Nasdaq: CZR ) slowly made improvements in most of its markets in the first quarter. Results released after the market closed yesterday showed a 4.3% rise in revenue to $2.27 billion and an 11% rise in adjusted EBITDA to $520.7 million.
A writedown of an abandoned project in Mississippi pushed the company's net loss to $280.6 million, or $2.24 per share. Without the $172.0 million charge, the loss would have been smaller than last year, but a loss nonetheless.
Las Vegas leads the way
Similar to the trend we saw from Las Vegas Sands' (NYSE: LVS ) results, Las Vegas is improving at a steady pace. The company said trips to Las Vegas increased 5.9% in the quarter and property EBITDA grew 9.3% to $211.3 million.
Atlantic City, Louisiana/Mississippi, and Iowa/Missouri regions also saw improvement in EBITDA in the quarter. But Illinois/Indiana and other Nevada regions were a drag on EBITDA overall, so it isn't all peaches and cream out there.
Debt still looms
Caesars' debt has at least stabilized, although it grew slightly during the quarter to $19.9 billion. If Caesars is going to need to grow out of this debt, it is going to need to continue growth even if it is at a slow rate. Las Vegas appears to be on solid footing based on Las Vegas Sands, Caesars, and Wynn Resorts' (Nasdaq: WYNN ) results, but Caesars' regional locations need to keep pace.
The biggest problem from an investment standpoint is that competitors are quickly lowering their net debt and are actually growing faster than Caesars. Wynn Resorts even announced yesterday that it received formal approval for its Cotai resort, a further push of the company into Macau.
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