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Hard Rock Hotel narrows loss, searches for president

Updated Monday, March 15, 2010 | 1:13 p.m.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino said it narrowed its losses by about 34 percent last year, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The property trimmed its loss of $299 million in 2008 to $197 million in 2009.

Net revenue for the year fell to $161.6 million in 2009 from $164.3 million in 2008. The hotel-casino said the $2.8 million drop was primarily attributed to an 18.3 percent decrease in casino revenue and a 10 percent decrease in lodging revenue.

Food and beverage revenue was $74.5 million in 2009 compared to $70.1 million in 2008. The company said the increase was primarily due to a $2.3 million increase at the Beach Club, where Hard Rock’s weekly pool party Rehab is held.

Average daily occupancy rate at the hotel was 88.2 percent in 2009 compared to 91.7 percent in 2008. As of Dec. 31, 2009, Hard Rock had 1,500 rooms and suites, according to the filing. The property opened its 490-room Paradise Tower in July and 359-suite HRH Tower in December. Both towers were part of the hotel’s $750 million expansion project.

The average daily room rate was $134 in 2009 compared to $190 in 2008. Hard Rock said the decrease was a result of management’s decision to strategically lower room prices to stay competitive in the Las Vegas market.

As of Dec. 31, 2009, Hard Rock had 60,000 square feet of gaming space, 3,600 square feet of retail space, 80,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, and had more than 2,300 employees.

The resort sits on 17 acres at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue, adjacent to 23 acres that Hard Rock also owns. According to the filing, Hard Rock intends to sell 15 of the 23 acres not being used in its expansion project.

The filing said Hard Rock has begun the search for a new president to replace former Hard Rock Hotel President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Kwasniewski. Kwasniewski was found dead in his Summerlin home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on March 9.

Until then, the hotel-casino will be managed by the property’s current management team with oversight by executives of Morgans Hotel Group, co-owner and manager of the Las Vegas hotel-casino, the filing indicated.

The property is a joint venture between New York-based Morgans and private equity firm DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, an affiliate of Credit Suisse.

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