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AZTAR REPORTS SUBSTANTIAL INCOME IMPROVEMENT FOR 1992

 PHOENIX, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Aztar Corp. (NASDAQ-NMS: AZTR) today reported improved revenues and operating income for its fiscal fourth quarter and its fiscal year 1992 from the comparable 1991 levels.
 Fourth Quarter Results
 For the 1992 fourth quarter, Aztar reported revenues of $121.5 million, up 4 percent from $116.6 million in the 1991 fourth quarter. Operating income was $4.1 million compared with $1.2 million, a 239 percent increase. Income from continuing operations was $900,000, or 2 cents per share, fully diluted, in 1992's fourth quarter, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $1.4 million, or 4 cents per share, fully diluted, in the 1991 quarter.
 Aztar reported these fourth-quarter results by property:
 -- TropWorld Casino and Entertainment Resort, Atlantic City, N.J.: Revenues of $78.3 million in the fourth quarter of 1992, up 4 percent from $75.0 million in the fourth quarter of 1991; operating income of $3.1 million, up 188 percent from $1.1 million.
 -- Tropicana Resort and Casino, Las Vegas: Revenues of $32.0 million in the 1992 quarter, up 2 percent from $31.3 million; operating income of $1.5 million, up 87 percent from $800,000.
 -- Ramada Express Hotel and Casino, Laughlin, Nev.: Revenues of $11.2 million in the 1992 quarter, up 9 percent from $10.3 million; operating income, $1.4 million, unchanged from the year-earlier period.
 After discontinued operations and extraordinary items, the company reported a net loss of $3.2 million, or 9 cents per share, fully diluted, for the fourth quarter of 1992, compared with final net income of $2.3 million, or 5 cents per share, fully diluted, in the fourth quarter of 1991. The extraordinary item in 1992 was a loss of $5.3 million, or 14 cents per share, fully diluted, related to the payment of a redemption premium and the writeoff of deferred financing costs associated with redemption of the 12 percent first mortgage notes due 1996 of Ambassador General Partnership.
 1992 Results
 For 1992, the company reported revenues of $512.0 million, up 6 percent from $481.3 million in 1991. Operating income for 1992 was $32.6 million, an increase of 139 percent from $13.7 million reported in 1991. Income from continuing operations was $16.4 million, or 40 cents per share, fully diluted, vs. $2.7 million, or 5 cents per share, fully diluted, in 1991.
 Aztar reported these 1992 results by property:
 -- TropWorld: Revenues of $334.3 million in 1992, up 8 percent from $310.3 million in 1991; operating income, $27.7 million, up 128 percent from $12.2 million.
 -- Tropicana: Revenues of $130.9 million, up 1 percent from $129.4 million; operating income, $4.3 million, up 35 percent from $3.2 million.
 -- Ramada Express: Revenues of $46.8 million, up 13 percent from $41.6 million; operating income of $8.7 million, up 46 percent from $6.0 million.
 Net income for 1992 was $19.8 million, or 49 cents per share, fully diluted, compared with $6.5 million, or 14 cents per share, fully diluted, in 1991. The company's results for 1992 included $1.3 million, or 3 cents per share, fully diluted, from discontinued operations, a gain of $7.5 million, or 19 cents per share, fully diluted, from the cumulative effect of an accounting change related to income taxes, and a loss of $5.3 million, or 13 cents per share, fully diluted, for the extraordinary item related to the AGP bond redemption.
 "Aztar's fourth quarter results capped a successful 1992 in which the company's pre-tax income rose to $26 million vs. less than $3 million in 1991," said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. "These results were achieved primarily through increasing market share in the faster- growing, more profitable slot business, where Aztar's revenues were up 19 percent from the previous year.
 "The factors contributing to our success in 1992 continue to give Aztar operating momentum in 1993. In addition, we are looking forward to the completion of a major expansion in Laughlin, which is on schedule for opening early this fall," Rubeli said.
 A $75 million expansion of Ramada Express begun last September will add a 1,095-room tower, almost quadrupling room capacity, to 1,500 hotel rooms, and will nearly double the casino to 50,000 square feet from 30,000 square feet.
 Aztar Corp. is a publicly held casino gaming company that operates TropWorld Casino and Entertainment Resort in Atlantic City, the Tropicana Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, and the Ramada Express Hotel and Casino, Laughlin.
 AZTAR CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Statements of Operations
 For the periods ended Dec. 31, 1992 and Jan. 2, 1992
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 Fourth Quarter Year
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 (unaudited)
 Revenues
 Casino $102,061 $ 95,573 $431,831 $392,917
 Rooms 8,153 8,759 32,651 36,577
 Food and beverage 8,839 9,878 37,519 42,040
 Other 2,452 2,432 10,044 9,751
 Total 121,505 116,642 512,045 481,285
 Costs and expenses
 Casino 49,546 45,510 202,747 187,189
 Rooms 4,607 5,109 19,527 21,598
 Food and beverage 8,228 9,493 35,008 39,229
 Other 1,627 1,709 6,827 7,211
 Marketing 11,136 10,390 45,705 41,385
 General and
 administrative 12,159 12,459 46,399 46,190
 Utilities 2,756 2,645 11,617 11,227
 Repairs and maintenance 4,528 4,787 18,544 18,064
 Provision for doubtful
 accounts 109 897 2,622 4,763
 Property taxes and
 insurance 4,075 3,867 16,108 15,391
 Net rent 11,413 11,547 45,653 47,193
 Depreciation and
 amortization 7,254 7,030 28,679 28,191
 Total 117,438 115,443 479,436 467,631
 Operating income 4,067 1,199 32,609 13,654
 Interest income 10,023 6,350 28,655 26,245
 Interest expense (11,696) (7,766) (31,132) (32,101)
 Income (loss) from
 continuing operations
 before other items,
 income taxes,
 extraordinary items
 and cumulative effect of
 accounting change 2,394 (217) 30,132 7,798
 Equity in unconsolidated
 partnership's loss (1,034) (1,165) (4,125) (5,030)
 Income (loss) from
 continuing operations
 before income taxes,
 extraordinary items
 and cumulative effect of
 accounting change 1,360 (1,382) 26,007 2,768
 Provision for income
 taxes (460) (60) (9,629) (60)
 Income (loss) from
 continuing operations
 before extraordinary items
 and cumulative effect of
 accounting change 900 (1,442) 16,378 2,708
 Discontinued operations 1,262 2,553 1,262 2,553
 Extraordinary items (5,335) 1,237 (5,335) 1,237
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change --- --- 7,500 ---
 Net income (loss) ($3,173) $2,348 $19,805 $6,498
 Earnings per common and
 common equivalent share:
 Income (loss) from continuing
 operations before
 extraordinary items and
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change $.02 ($.04) $.41 $.05
 Discontinued
 operations .03 .07 .03 .07
 Extraordinary items (.14) .03 (.14) .03
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change -- -- .20 --
 Net income (loss) ($.09) $.06 $.50 $.15
 Earnings per common share
 assuming full dilution:
 Income (loss) from continuing
 operations before
 extraordinary items and
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change $.02 ($.04) $.40 $.05
 Discontinued
 operations .03 .06 .03 .06
 Extraordinary items (.14) .03 (.13) .03
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change --- --- .19 ---
 Net income (loss) ($.09) $.05 $.49 $.14
 Weighted average common
 shares applicable to:
 Earnings per common
 and common
 equivalent share 37,912 38,825 38,212 38,782
 Earnings per common
 share assuming
 full dilution 39,021 39,881 39,311 39,939
 AZTAR CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Balance Sheet Summaries
 Dec. 31, 1992 and Jan. 2, 1992
 (In thousands)
 1992 1991
 Assets:
 Current assets $157,771 $120,838
 Investments 35,191 33,714
 Notes receivable 246,390 71,974
 Property and equipment 391,061 394,852
 Other assets 19,152 17,096
 Total $849,565 $638,474
 Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity:
 Current liabilities $77,233 $93,319
 Long-term debt 378,058 176,693
 Other long-term liabilities 57,527 47,503
 Series B ESOP convertible
 preferred stock 2,998 2,059
 Shareholders' equity 333,749 318,900
 Total $849,565 $638,474
 Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
 (a) Certain reclassifications have been made in the 1991 Consolidated Statements of Operations in order to be comparable to the current periods. These reclassifications have no effect on net income.
 Earnings per common and common equivalent share are computed based on the weighted average number of common shares outstanding after consideration of the dilutive effect of stock options. Earnings per common share, assuming full dilution, are computed based on the weighted average number of common shares outstanding after consideration of the dilutive effect of stock options and the assumed conversion of the preferred stock at the stated rate. Earnings for both computations are adjusted for dividends on the preferred stock.
 (b) The 1991 provision for income taxes is net of a $1,264,000 benefit as a result of a settlement in the fourth quarter with the Internal Revenue Service for an amount less than that provided in connection with the 1984 and 1985 income tax returns of Ramada Inc.
 (c) In 1989, the company disposed of its hotel business and the following items are related to this discontinued operation. In 1992, the company reached a settlement with Canadian tax authorities in relation to the 1988 and 1989 income tax returns of Ramada Inc. and received a refund of $1,262,000. In 1991, the company recorded a tax benefit of $1,861,000 in connection with the above mentioned settlement with the Internal Revenue Service for an amount less than that provided. In another matter, but also in 1991, the company reached a settlement with Canadian tax authorities and received a refund of $692,000.
 (d) On Oct. 8, 1992, the company issued $200 million of 11 percent Senior Subordinated Notes due Oct. 1, 2002. A substantial portion of the proceeds were loaned to Ambassador General Partnership to redeem $171 million of its 12 percent First Mortgage Notes due 1996. In connection with the debt redemption, the company paid a prepayment premium and expensed its remaining deferred financing costs. These items are reflected in the Consolidated Statements of Operations as an extraordinary loss of $5,335,000, net of an income tax benefit of $2,749,000.
 The company has a net operating loss carryforward from 1989. Because the tax benefit of the 1989 loss was not previously recorded, a portion of the tax benefit was offset, as an extraordinary item, against the 1991 provision for income taxes.
 (e) In February 1992, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes ("SFAS 109"), which supersedes Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 96 with the same title ("SFAS 96"). SFAS 96 was never adopted by the company. The company adopted the provisions of SFAS 109 in the first quarter of 1992 and elected not to restate prior year financial statements. The effect from prior years of adopting SFAS 109 as of the beginning of fiscal 1992 is a net deferred income tax benefit of $7,500,000 and it is reflected in the Consolidated Statement of Operations as the Cumulative effect of accounting change.
 -0- 2/4/93
 /CONTACT: Joe Cole, VP-corporate communications of Aztar, 602-381-4111/
 (AZTR)


CO: Aztar Corp. ST: Arizona IN: CNO LEI SU: ERN

KJ-LS -- LA012 -- 2746 02/04/93 08:12 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1993
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