What happened

Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:FGP) plunged on Thursday, slumping more than 18% by 2:45 p.m. EDT. Fueling the downdraft: the propane company's weak fourth-quarter results, which fueled more concerns about its financial situation.

So what

Ferrellgas Partners generated $8.2 million in EBITDA during the fourth quarter, which was well below the $19.2 million it produced in the year-ago quarter. While volumes were 1.6% higher, operating expenses expanded at an even faster pace as the company continued to position for future customer and sales growth by opening additional selling locations.

A truck carrying propane cylinders

Image source: Getty Images.

Another factor weighing on the company is its financial situation. That led it to sell its midstream and Global Sourcing businesses, as well as to secure a $575 million credit facility to boost its liquidity. However, Ferrellgas Partners noted that it continues to evaluate various options related to its outstanding bonds; it's looking at refinancing or exchanging them to give itself more breathing room. Interim CEO Jim Ferrell stated on the accompanying conference call that the company is working on long-term solutions to address its capital structure, even if they impact its sky-high 17.4%-yielding distribution to investors.

Now what

While Ferrellgas is working to solve its balance-sheet problems, it's unclear what actions it will take. Investors should steer clear of this ultra-high-yield stock until it's back on solid ground, and consider buying other stocks instead.