Magna Posts Strong First Quarter

Magna Entertainment reported a strong first quarter with double digit increases in earnings per share, revenue, and net income.

Earnings per share for the Toronto-based racing conglomerate rose 87% to 28 cents per share for the three months ending March 31, up from 15 cents per share for the same period of 2000. Revenue increased 33% to $244.5 million and net income jumped 88% to $22.5 million.

Jim McAlpine, Magna's president and chief executive officer, said the first quarter results were a "solid endorsement of our consolidation strategy."

"We expect to see continued improvement in operating and financial performance in the remainder of 2001, compared to the prior year, as we achieve greater economies of scale, realize the value of improved distribution of our simulcast signals and benefit from the sale of non-core real estate," McAlpine said.

The recent first quarter was Magna's first full quarter to include all the company's seven Thoroughbred racetracks and related operations. A year ago, the quarter included one month of operations at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan and nothing from Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif.

Throughout the rest of 2001, Magna expects earnings growth from implementing a best practices system throughout its racetrack properties, improved production and distribution of its simulcast programs, and from the recent acquisition of Ladbroke Pennsylvania's Call-A-Bet telephone account wagering system and The Meadows harness track.

Magna stock (Nasdaq:MIEC) got a boost from the first quarter results. The stock rose 12% to close at $5.35 on Thursday. Volume was heavy with 103,000 shares changing hands compared with the stock's average daily volume of 41,727. The 52-week range for Magna Entertainment is $3.56-$7.87.