Magna Registers First-Quarter Loss of $4 Million

Magna Entertainment Corp. reported a net loss of $4.12 million for the first quarter of 2005, down from net income of $21.11 million for the comparable period in 2004.

Revenue for the first three months of this year was $252.36 million, down from $291.84 million last year. The 13.5% decrease was attributed to a $33 million drop in revenue in California and a 6.7% decline in revenue in Florida.

The company, in a May 2 release, attributed the California decline to a shift in racing dates at Golden Gate Fields from the first quarter to later in the year, while the Florida loss was attributed to a decline in on-track business at Gulfstream Park, which is being rebuilt.

"As we suggested in early March, the first quarter of 2005 produced decreased revenues and earnings compared to the same period last year," MEC president Thomas Hodgson said in a statement. "The first quarter of the year has traditionally been our strongest quarter of the year as certain of our largest racetracks run live race meets in the first half of the year. However, contributing to the decline in revenues and earnings were the change in the racing calendar at Golden Gate Fields, where live race days were shifted to later in the year, inclement weather in Southern California during the Santa Anita Park race meet, and the disruption of the race meet at Gulfstream Park, where our redevelopment project continued and we operated from temporary facilities.

"Our racetracks operate for prescribed periods each year. As a result, our racing revenues and operating results for any quarter will not be indicative of our racing revenues and operating results for the year. Our financial results for the first quarter of 2005 reflect the full quarter's operations for all of MEC's racetracks and related pari-mutuel wagering operations. The comparative results for the first quarter of 2004 do not reflect the operations of Magna Racino (in Austria), which opened on April 4, 2004."

Diluted earnings per share fell from $0.19 in the first quarter of 2004 to a loss of $0.04 for the first quarter of this year. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization fell from $34.56 last year to $13.56 this year.