Why International Game Technology Shares Plunged 15% Today

By Travis Hoium Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of casino supplier International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) fell Thursday after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings. As of 3:13 p.m. EST, the stock had lost 15.2%.

So what

Revenue for the quarter fell 3% to $1.32 billion and adjusted operating income fell 4% to $281 million, although adjusted net income per share was up 40% to $0.88. Revenue fell slightly short of analysts' average estimate of $1.33 billion, and earnings easily topped the $0.47-per-share estimate, but that didn't matter much today.

Image source: Getty Images.

What investors have to be incredibly worried about is the company's $7.57 billion in net debt, which could soon come to strangle the company if rates rise. And with revenue on the decline, there's increased worry that IGT won't generate enough cash to pay its debts.

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Now what

IGT has been on a buying spree for years, but management hasn't made paying down debt a big priority. In fact, it declared a dividend of $0.20 per share along with reporting earnings, so it's accepting the risk associated with debt. That may be a bad idea, especially considering the fact that interest rates are already on the rise and the gaming industry doesn't have much room for further expansion around the globe. The decline in shares is understandable today, and unless IGT finds a way to expand margins or grow revenue, I would be wary of the stock in the future.

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Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.