LAS VEGAS (AP) - Station Casinos Inc., which owns 17 casinos around Las Vegas and has about 13,000 employees, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection nearly two years after seeking court protection.
Kevin Kelly, the company's chief operating officer, joined employees in celebrating the completion of its restructuring Friday at Red Rock Resort, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
"It's been a long battle, but it's finally done. We are very excited," Kelly said. "Being done means Station Casinos can get back to the things it does best ... without the distractions."
The company emerges from bankruptcy owning 17 properties, including Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort and Palace Station. It also manages Aliante Station.
The company was reassembled by members of its founding family, led by Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III and his brother, Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta.
The Fertitta family now owns 45 percent of the restructured company after investing $200 million to raise their stake from 25 percent before the bankruptcy.
"Lorenzo and I believe in the future of Las Vegas, which is why we remain committed to the company and the community," Frank Fertitta III said in a statement.
Other owners of the restructured company include Deutsche Bank AG, with a 25 percent stake, while JP Morgan Chase & Co. and former bondholders each hold 15 percent.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2009 after it had difficulty serving its debt load of $5.9 billion. The company shed almost $4 billion of that debt.
Company officials blamed the economy for the bankruptcy, but analysts also cited over-development and high debt load.
"It's a combination of all three," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Taking on too much debt certainly didn't help, but the sustained downturn in the locals market is primarily to blame."
Kelly said the company would continue to focus on improvements but also could grow.
The company owns more than 400 acres in multiple locations earmarked for future casino development in Las Vegas and Reno, and has four tribal development or management agreements in California and Michigan.
"It's our mission to continue to improve and grow," Kelly said.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com