Twin River booked $71 million profit in 2018

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LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Twin River Casino’s parent company earned a profit of $71 million in 2018, up nearly 60% from two years earlier, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that shed new light on the gaming company’s finances.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings became a publicly traded company at the end of March after completing its $98 million takeover of Delaware-based Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, which means its executives are now required to disclose financial information to the SEC.

Twin River Worldwide says its 4,900 employees currently operate “over 400,000 square feet of gaming space, approximately 8,500 slot machines, approximately 260 gaming tables, approximately 65 stadium gaming positions, approximately 40 dining establishments, 20 bars, three entertainment venues and approximately 1,200 hotel rooms.”

The filings show revenue at Twin River Worldwide’s gaming facilities — located in Rhode Island, Mississippi and Colorado — rose from $415 million in 2016 to $438 million in 2018. But the company held down expenses over the same period, bolstering its profit margin.

The two Rhode Island casinos — in Lincoln and Tiverton — accounted for the majority of 2018 net revenue, clocking in at $303 million, up from $280 million in 2016, according to the SEC filings. (That amount excludes the state’s share of revenue generated at the facilities.) The Rhode Island properties posted an operating profit of $106 million in 2018, down from $123 million the prior year.

Unsurprisingly, Twin River makes the bulk of its Rhode Island revenue from gaming, which accounted for $246 million in 2018. Food and drink sales contributed another $30 million.

The company said its capital expenses in Rhode Island soared from $8 million in 2017 to nearly $100 million in 2018 as it embarked on construction of its new Tiverton casino as well as a hotel at the flagship location in Lincoln. The company’s net long-term debt totaled $391 million at the end of last year.

The SEC filings also reveal how much Twin River’s three top executives made in 2018.

President and CEO George Papanier earned $2.3 million last year, with a base salary of $727,394 plus a bonus and stock awards. Executive Chairman John Taylor Jr. earned $750,000, down from $1.78 million in 2017, when he got a bonus and stock awards. Former Chief Financial Officer Glenn Carlin earned just under $1 million. (Stephen Capp took over as CFO this year.)

Twin River spokesperson Patti Doyle argued the executives are earning their pay, noting that the business has grown into “a national company in multiple jurisdictions.”

“The depth of our portfolio diversification serves to lessen the impact of competition, notably from Massachusetts, and also increase the company’s overall health,” she said in an email. (Twin River is facing growing competition from expanded gambling in Massachusetts, including four-year-old Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville and the possibility of a resort casino in Southeastern Massachusetts down the line.)

Doyle emphasized that Papanier and Taylor are the executives who guided Twin River through its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization “not simply to survive, but thrive.” She said the company now 2,53s 2,531 workers in Rhode Island, up from barely 1,000 a decade ago, and generates approximately $360 million in revenue for the state each year.

Twin River Worldwide trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TRWH. Its shares have ticked up from $29.95 on March 29 to $32.90 when the market closed Thursday. No Wall Street analysts are currently tracking the stock, but the company expects some will begin doing so soon, Doyle said.

The company’s largest stockholder is Standard General L.P., a New York-based hedge fund, which controls about 32% of shares; its managing partner and chief investment officer, Soohyung Kim, has served on the Twin River board of directors since 2016. Other significant stockholders include Chatham Asset Management — lately in the news for its ownership of the National Enquirer — and Solus Alternative Asset Management.

Twin River Worldwide isn’t done expanding: in January, the company signed a deal to acquire three more casinos in Colorado from Affinity Gaming. That transaction is slated to close early next year.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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