Why Amaya Inc. Shares Are Down More Than 30%

Amaya Inc. (TSX:AYA)(NASDAQ:AYA) had a rough third quarter.

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On Monday, I made the case for an investment in Amaya Inc. (TSX:AYA)(NASDAQ:AYA), best known as the parent company of PokerStars. My timing could not have been worse.

On Tuesday morning, Amaya posted results that missed expectations. Amaya also lowered its guidance for 2015. The shares have gotten absolutely crushed as a result–as of this writing, its stock price (on both exchanges) has fallen by roughly one-third.

So, what exactly is going on with Amaya? And is this an opportunity to buy a beaten-up stock at a discount?

Blaming currency and other one-time events

Whenever European currencies decline relative to the U.S. dollar, it creates a headwind for Amaya. This is because roughly 80% of Amaya’s revenue comes from European countries, while the vast majority of game play occurs in U.S. dollars. So, whenever the U.S. dollar strengthens, the purchasing power of European players declines.

And that is exactly what has happened over the past 12 months. The U.S. dollar is performing very well thanks mainly to falling oil prices and a looming interest rate hike. Consequently, the purchasing power of Amaya’s poker players has decreased by nearly 20%. The extent of the problem caught management off guard, which is why they lowered the guidance.

In addition, there were some “one-time” issues in the quarter. Amaya suspended all real-money operations in Portugal, pending a new licensing regime in the country. In Greece, the country’s economic troubles forced Amaya to suspend operations there as well. Both of them had been top 10 casino markets in the second quarter.

Some bright spots

Judging by Amaya’s stock price, investors are certainly unimpressed. But there is a silver lining to the results.

When measuring results in local currencies, Amaya’s revenue growth starts to look a lot better. For example, Eurozone revenues increased by 27% year over year when measured in euros. British revenue in pounds increased 18%. Growth topped 40% in countries such as Hungary, Norway, and Switzerland.

Investors seem to have overreacted

Amaya lowered its 2015 profit guidance by 10%, but its shares are down by far more than that. This suggests that investors think of Amaya as a company in decline.

But, as can be seen above, that’s clearly not the case at all, and Amaya’s growth prospects remain as strong as ever. In the meantime, the company continues to allocate some of its cash flow towards share repurchases, meaning that a depressed stock price could be a positive longer term.

For these reasons, I have increased my position in Amaya. So far, I am wrong on my bet, but I believe the opportunity is even more attractive. Time will tell.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair holds a position in the shares of Amaya Inc..

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