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Hilton's 4th-Quarter Earnings Rise 33% Before Charges

January 21, 1998| From Bloomberg News

Hilton Hotels Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings before charges rose 33% on strong demand for hotel rooms that allowed it to boost rates and improved results at its casinos.

The Beverly Hills-based hotel and casino company had profit from operations of $65 million, or 25 cents a diluted share, up from $49 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier. The per-share results reflect the payment of preferred dividends.

Hilton was expected to earn 27 cents, the average estimate of 13 analysts polled by IBES International Inc.

The company in December said it would earn about 25 to 29 cents a share, which was less than 37 cents expected by analysts. Hilton blamed competition at its casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., the closing of a riverboat casino in New Orleans and delays in opening its Star Trek amusement center at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Hilton shares rose 94 cents to close at $30.56 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

In the most recent quarter, Hilton took a charge of $70 million, or 28 cents a share, for closing its Flamingo casino in New Orleans, losses at the Flamingo casino in Kansas City, Mo., and costs of its effort to take over New York-based ITT Corp. Those resulted in a final loss of $5 million, or 3 cents a share.

In the year-earlier quarter, Hilton had charges of $74 million, or 36 cents a share, for extinguishing debt early and $43 million, or 21 cents, for the costs of opening the Flamingo casino and a plan to move the Flamingo riverboat in New Orleans to Shreveport, La. Those led to a final loss of $68 million, or 33 cents.

Revenue rose 4.7%, to $689 million from $658 million.

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