"I'm pleased with our results for the year, particularly when considering such challenges as the loss of the subsidy in Indiana, the smoking ban in Florida and the workers' compensation issue in California," said Thomas H. Meeker, Churchill Downs president and chief executive officer. "We were able to successfully counter these factors through the strength of the Kentucky Derby, the continued growth of the Churchill Downs simulcast network, the benefits of our new credit facility and our continued emphasis on efficiency."In 2004, we will continue to face the challenges noted above as well as renovations at Churchill Downs racetrack which will proceed through Derby and Oaks and both meets," Meeker continued. "Additionally, in 2004, we will make substantial investments in people and technology that will create a customer- driven organization and an innovative growth platform through our customer relationship management effort. These strategic investments will reposition the company for future growth."Meeker concluded, "Based upon the above, as well as the impact of non- recurring factors at Arlington Park and Hoosier Park, we estimate our 2004 earnings at approximately $1.70 per share, and a first quarter loss of $0.92."
Churchill Downs Inc. reported Tuesday that net revenues for 2003 of $424.2 million represented a 3.3% decline from $438.8 million in 2002. Net earnings totaled $1.80 per fully diluted share, compared with $1.57 per diluted share in 2002, which included a special asset impairment charge of $0.21 per diluted share. During the fourth quarter of the year, Churchill had net revenues of $92.7 million, down 15.5% from the $109.7 million reported during the same period in 2002. Net loss was $274,000, or ($0.02) per diluted share, compared with earnings of $2.0 million or $0.15 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2002. The company attributed the fourth-quarter decline principally to "racing calendar changes and the riverboat subsidy reduction at Hoosier Park in Indiana.