Trump casinos emerge from bankruptcy with less debt

By Wayne Parry, AP
Friday, July 16, 2010

Trump casinos emerge from 3rd bankruptcy

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Hoping the third time would be the charm, the three Trump casinos in Atlantic City emerged from bankruptcy court on Friday with much less debt and more optimism about competing in the cutthroat East Coast casino market.

The Chapter 11 filing was the third for Trump Entertainment Resorts or its corporate predecessors.

The bankruptcy eliminated $1.3 billion worth of debt that had been choking the company.

Bondholders led by New York-based Avenue Capital Group will be the largest owners, with a 21.7 percent stake. Donald Trump, who founded the company but lost control of it in a previous bankruptcy, will own 10 percent of the company.

“Trump Entertainment Resorts today begins a period marked by new financial strength,” said Marc Lasry, Avenue’s CEO who will serve as chairman of the new Trump Entertainment board. said. “Having just completed the transaction that made the company’s emergence official, I am more excited than ever about the future.”

The casinos will be able to use the names and likenesses of Trump and his daughter Ivanka for marketing purposes.

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved the company’s reorganization and gave preliminary approval to the new ownership group.

The emergence from bankruptcy will provide for $225 million of new equity for the company, including $125 million that will pay down debt.

“Our company is now well-capitalized and possesses a long-term strategy for growth,” said Mark Juliano, who is staying on as CEO. “Our new board of directors and ownership group have made it clear that they are dedicated to the success of the company over both the short and long terms. We are excited about the new chapter that begins today for Trump Entertainment Resorts.”

The new company was forced to immediately deal with its first crisis, an air conditioning failure caused by a utility plant leak that led to the closure Friday of Trump Plaza Hotel Casino. It will be Sunday afternoon before they reopen.

The Boardwalk casino and its 906-room hotel usually take in $3.5 to $4 million over a July weekend, Juliano said.

“I hope this isn’t an omen,” Juliano said. “This is our first day out.”

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