Harrah’s Posts Q4 Profit with Lower Revenues

(Reuters) – Harrah’s Entertainment Inc [HAMLEH.UL], the world’s largest casino operator by revenue, reported a fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, compared with a year-earlier loss, but revenue fell 8 percent as demand in Las Vegas and Atlantic City remained weak.

Hit by the economic downturn, consumers have cut back on discretionary spending like gambling trips at the same time that businesses have reduced spending on meetings in Las Vegas.

“The impact of the economy on consumers’ willingness to spend continued to affect our results throughout 2009,” Harrah’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said in a statement. “The cost-reduction programs implemented at the end of 2008 helped mitigate the economy’s impact on our operating margins last year.”

Harrah’s was acquired by private equity firms Apollo Management LP [APOLO.UL] and TPG Capital [TPG.UL] in 2008 for $31 billion.

The company, which operates more than 50 casinos, mostly in the United States, posted net income of $298.3 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.78 billion, when it wrote down the value of assets.

Income from operations rose 15 percent to $163 million, Harrah’s said, while net revenue fell 7.9 percent to $2.1 billion. (Reporting by Deena Beasley, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)