Penn National's Fourth Quarter Falls Below Estimates

Penn National Gaming is anticipating its fourth quarter earnings will fall short of analysts' expectations.

The gaming and pari-mutuel company (Nasdaq:PENN) reported its fourth quarter earnings before taxes, depreciation and interest (EBITDA) should be between $17 million and $17.5 million with per share earnings between 19 cents and 22 cents per share. Analysts projected fourth quarter earnings of 23 cents per share. For the year, Penn National expects EBITDA between $59.8 million and $60 million, and per share earnings between $1.22 and $1.25 per share. Analysts' consensus on earnings per share was $1.26 for the year.

Peter Carlino, Penn National's chief executive officer, attributed the shortfall to declining revenue at the company's two Mississippi casinos. He also said decreases in gaming revenue at Charles Town Races is in keeping with seasonal changes at that racetrack.

"Penn National has achieved positive operating momentum throughout 2000, exceeding consensus estimates for each of the first three quarters of the year," Carlino said. "Notwithstanding the anticipated fourth quarter results, we expect this...momentum to continue unabated in 2001."