05/05/2004 12:00AM

Magna's net income rises


Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita and the operator of 11 other tracks, had net income of $21.1 million in the first quarter of 2004, up $8.4 million from the first quarter last year.

The gain in net income was principally owed to Magna's decision not to record income tax expenses in the quarter. Last year in the first quarter, income tax expense was $9.5 million. Magna lost $105.1 million in 2003, and said in a release that it expects to pay "nominal" taxes this year.

Total revenue in the first quarter was $291.8 million, up $21.7 million, or 8 percent, compared with the first quarter in 2003. Operating expenses increased $22.3 million, or 9.0 percent, to $270.7 million.

Magna historically has made a profit in the first quarter because many of its most popular tracks run in the winter, including Santa Anita and Gulfstream. The company has struggled to turn a profit during the remainder of the year.