Atlantis executive frustrated despite growth in earnings

Despite his company's record-setting performance last year, John Farahi is annoyed.

Monarch Casino & Resort Inc., the company Farahi serves as chief executive officer and co-chairman, reported net income of $4.9 million for the fourth quarter and $21 million for the year.

Both figures were up about 27 percent from year-earlier figures and beat analysts' estimates.

But hotel revenue at Atlantis, the casino hotel that is Monarch's major holding, was down by 1.7 percent for the year.

And that annoys Farahi, who said slow business at the Reno Convention Center across the street from Atlantis is directly hammering the income of his publicly traded company.

The weak bookings, he noted, come despite the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority's major upgrade of the convention center and construction of the Downtown Events Center.

Farahi said his company's executives hope new leadership of RSCVA will reinvigorate convention and meetings business.

Even with the decline in hotel revenue, Atlantis boosted its operating margins to 29.7 percent from 27.7 percent.

"We're taking advantage of technology in all facets of our business," the Monarch co-chairman said.

The company also continues planning for a major expansion project. It's paid its long-term debt down to about $8 million, giving it plenty of room to take on a big project.

The company isn't yet disclosing its plans, although it owns 16 acres zoned for gaming on the west side of Virginia Street, just opposite Atlantis, and controls a shopping center property north of the hotel casino.


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