Slot-maker IGT reports doubled earnings for fiscal 4th quarter

International Game Technology, the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer, more than doubled earnings and boosted revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter thanks to strong North American machine sales.

The Reno-based company today reported earnings of $60 million, 20 cents a share, on revenue of $539.8 million compared with fourth-quarter 2010 earnings of $23 million, 8 cents a share, on revenue of $474.2 million.

A survey of 17 analysts projected earnings at 23 cents a share.

In an earnings conference call today, company executives said they expect those trends to continue with a racino opening at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack in the current quarter and casino openings scheduled next year in Ohio.

IGT President Eric Tom also said the company had an outstanding show at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in October, writing 2,000 orders for new machines in three days.

Tom said the potential for developing content improved last month when the company announced a licensing deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Fourth-quarter product sales were up 20 percent to $257 million with the sale of 11,300 units, most of them replacements for old machines.

In the fourth quarter, the company shipped 6,500 machines to North American casinos — 1,400 new and 5,100 replacements. Internationally, IGT shipped 4,600 machines, including 1,900 new and 2,700 replacements.

For the entire fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, IGT sold 37,500 machines.

Company officials said they expect to pick up market share in the busy Asian market, but may not see as much improvement in Europe.

“In fiscal year 2011, we grew revenue, leveraged our gaming operations, improved margins, positioned the international business for growth and increased our interactive presence,” Patti Hart, CEO of IGT, said in a release distributed with the announcement of earnings.

“We delivered strong financial results and held true to the commitments we made to our shareholders by directing our resources towards the high returning opportunities,” she said. “We are focused on improving all aspects of our business, with the expected outcome of improved returns to our shareholders in fiscal year 2012.”