OSLO, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Seismic surveyor Petroleum Geo-Services joined its peers in indicating lower earnings this year due to lower demand from oil companies.
The Norwegian firm cut its guidance for full-year earnings this year to between $800 million and $850 million, compared with $850 million previously - the second downward revision in two months - and said its first-quarter 2014 earnings would be hit by lower demand.
It also said multi-client late sales - surveys done by PGS and sold to multiple oil companies, as opposed those commissioned by a single oil firm, and based on data sold long after it was collected - were muted in the fourth quarter.
Seismic companies, which map the seabed in search of oil and gas deposits, have seen weaker demand for their services in recent months as the oil sector reigns in capital spending to protect margins and dividends.
On Tuesday French rival CGG issued a profit warning that sent its shares tumbling as much as 18 percent to a two-year low.
Last month another peer, Dolphin, said it expected the sector to continue to slow over the quarter with more idled vessels, and said any recovery was unlikely before the second quarter of next year.
PGS maintained increasing its dividend would be a key goal.
"Dividend growth will be a priority," the firm said in presentation material ahead of a capital markets day. Its target is to distribute 25-50 percent of earnings "over time".
Although PGS cut its full-year earnings guidance for 2013, it expected next year's earnings to grow to between $900 million and $950 million. But this was still below analysts' expectations, who were forecasting $969 million on average according to Thomson Reuters data.
As part of its other targets for 2014, PGS said it expected capital expenditure to amount to $400-450 million, slightly below the $450-475 million spent in 2013.
PGS shares are down some 38 percent since November last year.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Terje Solsvik and David Holmes)
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