Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. (PTEN - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2020 net loss of 45 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 46 cents, attributable to better-than-expected sales from the Contract Drilling unit. Also, revenues from the segment came in at $267.4 million, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $258 million.
However, the loss was wider than the year-ago loss of 14 cents. This downside is due to weak U.S. drilling activity and higher total costs and expenses.
Although total revenues of $445.93 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $438 million, the top line plunged 36.7% year over year.
Poison Pill Adoption
In a separate press release, Patterson-UTI announced its adoption of a limited-duration shareholder rights agreement and declared a dividend of one preferred share for each outstanding share of its common stock payable May 8, 2020 to its shareholders of record. Per the company, the rights pact was followed as its present share value does not mirror its inherent long-term worth, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that upended most sectors until now. In fact, shares have been trending 72.5% down year to date.
Management confirmed that the rights plan will be exercised when an investor accumulated more than 10% of a stock, contingent upon customary conditions. The plan will provide stockholders with the right to purchase shares at a discounted price, which will dilute the stock and prevent a hostile takeover.
Contract Drilling: This segment’s revenues totaled $267.4 million, down 28.2% year over year. Meanwhile, the unit lost $404 million in the first quarter against a profit of $21.2 million in the year-earlier period.
While average rig revenues per operating day increased to $23,800 from $23,590 in the first quarter of 2019, it was more than offset by a 4.8% rise in average daily rig operating costs. Consequently, average rig margin per day contracted 10% year over year to $9,250.
The unit was also plagued by a fall in both operating days (from 11,291 to 11,235) and the number of rigs operational (from 175 to 123).
Pressure Pumping: Revenues of $125.1 million dropped 49.5% from the year-ago sales of $247.6 million as activity decreased. Moreover, the segment’s operating loss widened to $35.5 million from $18.8 million in the first quarter of 2019 on lower revenues and margins.
Directional Drilling: The unit’s revenues totaled $34.5 million, down 34.8% year over year. Moreover, the segment incurred an operating loss of $10.6 million compared with $5.6 million loss in the corresponding quarter of 2019. The results were hurt by higher development costs.
Other Operations: Revenues came in at $19 million, 39.2% below the year-ago figure of $31.2 million. Moreover, the unit incurred a quarterly loss of $18.7 million, wider than the loss of $5.2 million in the year-ago quarter. This deterioration was mainly on account of lower revenues and elevated impairment charges.
Capital Expenditure & Financial Position
During the quarter, Patterson-UTI spent $71.9 million on capital programs (compared with $118.3 million in the first quarter of 2019). As of Mar 31, 2020, the company had $152.2 million in cash and cash equivalents and $966.8 million in long-term debt.
Guidance & Outlook
Drilling and completion activities are expected to be under pressure for the time being with upstream energy companies choosing to remain conservative with their investment budgets due to the tumbling oil prices. Management warned that drilling activity may decline 60% in 2020. As a response, the company expects to run just four frack fleets in the second quarter, indicating a decline from the earlier-projection of 10. By Jun 30, this oilfield service provider will likely lower its rig count to 70, falling steeply from an average of 123 at the first-quarter end.
To cope with the current market volatility, Patterson-UTI is taking strategic measures to trim its expenses.
For the second quarter of 2020, the company anticipates to record a total of $50 million of charges associated with the savings.
The average rig count for the period is expected to drop by one-third of the first-quarter average. Depending on the currently active contracts, the company estimates an average of 71 rigs operating under term contracts in the second quarter as well as an average of 50 rigs under term contracts during the four quarters ending Mar 31, 2021.
In pressure pumping, Patterson-UTI expects the unit to make indirect support cost savings of around $65 million annually. The company’s directional drilling segment projects to save support costs worth $10 million annually.
Meanwhile, the board lowered the company’s regular quarterly dividend by 50% to 2 cents per share. The dividend is payable Jun 18 to its shareholders of record as of Jun 4, 2020. Further, Patterson-UTI, which halted share repurchases in the first quarter, is not planning any more buybacks currently.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Patterson-UTI has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players in the energy space are Murphy USA Inc. (MUSA - Free Report) , Comstock Resources, Inc. (CRK - Free Report) and Southwestern Energy Company (SWN - Free Report) , each stock carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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