Patterson-UTI Energy Inc.
by Tracey RyniecJune 20, 2011 | Comments : 0 Recommended this article: (0)
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Drilling in the shale regions is hot. Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. ( PTEN - Analyst Report ) is expected to grow earnings in the triple digits in 2011. Near 2-year highs, shares have momentum to go along with the growth. This Zacks #1 Rank (strong buy) also has value which makes it a rare trifecta of momentum, growth AND value.
Patterson is in the thick of the action as its an onshore contract driller to exploration and production companies in North America.
The company's drilling segment has about 360 land-based drilling rigs that operate in the oil and natural gas regions of the US and western Canada. The pressure pumping segment provides pumping services in Texas and the Appalachian region.
Patterson Beat By 7% in the First Quarter
On Apr 28, Patterson reported its first quarter results and surprised on the Zacks Consensus by 3 cents. Earnings per share were 46 cents which easily surpassed the first quarter of 2010 in which the company only made 3 cents per share.
It was the 6th consecutive earnings surprise.
Revenue soared 108% to $567 million from $272 million. Drilling revenue continued to grow. The average number of rigs operating rose to 207, including 192 in the U.S. and 15 in Canada, from 194 rigs in the fourth quarter of 2010, with 182 operating in the U.S. and 12 in Canada.
Its pressure pumping business is also in demand due to increased activity among the oil and liquids-rich plays.
The company has pricing power for its pressure pumping activity as the number of wells being drilled, as well as the increasing frac intensity of many of the wells means there is a shortage of fracturing horsepower.
Where there is a shortage, there is always opportunity.
Unconventional Plays Spur Growth
Because of its rig and frac fleets, it has become one of the preferred providers for the unconventional plays.
As a result, 80% of Patterson's drilling revenue in the quarter came from horizontal and directional wells. 76% of its fracturing revenue came from those types of wells.
The company also had 86 rigs under long-term contracts in the first quarter and expects to have 102 rigs under long-term contracts in the remainder of 2011.
Patterson is also building new Apex rigs. It completed 3 in the first quarter and expected to build 3 more in April. Its goal is 25 new Apex rigs in 2011 with long-term contracts for 18 of them.
Zacks Consensus Estimates Jump
Analysts liked what they heard in April as the 2011 Zacks Consensus Estimate rose to $2.13 from $1.92 per share. However, in the last 30 days, some revisions have been mixed with 2 estimates being lowered and 1 being raised in that time.
Still, this is earnings growth of 195%.
By comparison, its peer Precision Drilling (PDS) which is also hot, is expected to grow earnings by 75% in 2011.
The Triple Threat of Momentum, Growth and Value
Shares didn't do much until July of 2010 when suddenly they took off and have been rallying hard. Not surprisingly, this is around the time the company began its earnings surprise streak.
But even with the momentum, shares are still attractively priced.
Patterson has a forward P/E of 13.7, which is under the 15x I use for a "value" stock. It is also cheaper than Precision Drilling, which trades at 14.9x.
The company also has a price-to-book ratio (P/B) of 1.9 which is under the 3.0 level I use to find value stocks.
We've already seen the growth. Earnings are expected to grow 195% this year and another 26% in 2012.
As long as the shale play remains strong, which it is likely to do especially into an election year, look for Patterson-UTI Energy and its drilling peers to see steady growth.
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