02/12/2002 1:00AM

Magna reports rise in net income

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Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields, had net income of $13.5 million in 2001, or 16 cents a share, on record revenues of $519.1 million.

It was an improvement over the company's results in 2000, when net income was $400,000, or 1 cent a share. Revenues in 2000 were $413.6 million.

Magna chief executive officer Jim McAlpine said during a conference call Tuesday that the company was "pleased" with the results for the year.

Results for 2001 were propped up for the second straight year by sales of real estate. In 2001, Magna had $40 million in revenues from the sale of real estate, compared with $58 million in 2000. The real estate was provided to Magna Entertainment by its parent company, the auto-parts company Magna International, when the racetrack company was spun off in November 1999. Magna International was founded by Magna Entertainment's chairman, Frank Stronach.

In just three years, Magna has become one of the most powerful companies in the Thoroughbred industry. It currently owns or operates 10 racetracks, and it recently launched both a satellite television service to broadcast live races from its tracks and an Internet wagering operation called Xpressbet.com.

McAlpine said in the conference call that Magna is still looking for additional racetrack properties, although he would not be specific. Magna officials declined to comment further during the conference call and did not return phone calls later on Tuesday.

"We have three or four more racetrack properties within our sights, and we would hope to complete some of those transactions within the next calendar year," McAlpine said.

McAlpine said Xpressbet has signed on 3,800 subscribers in its first few weeks of operation and taken more than $900,000 in bets. The service was launched at the end of January after the California Horse Racing Board licensed Magna to take telephone and internet bets in the state.

Magna officials said the company also has plans to issue 20 million shares of new stock this year, but officials would not be specific about the plans. The company currently has approximately 84 million shares outstanding.

"When we think the market is ready, and we feel the need for cash we will go to market," said Graham Orr, the company's chief financial officer.

Magna's stock was down 3 cents on Tuesday, to $9.35. The stock hit a 52-week high on Feb. 1 of $10.25.