BJ Q1 Operating Revenue Slides 20%, 'Flat Drilling Activity' Ahead

BJ Services Company reported net income of $172.2 million for the fiscal 2008 first quarter ended December 31, 2007, or $0.58 per diluted share. The quarter's diluted earnings per share decreased from the $0.64 per diluted share reported in the previous quarter and the $0.70 per diluted share reported in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

Revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2008 was $1,285.1 million, slightly above the $1,279.3 million reported in the previous quarter and up 9% compared to $1,183.9 million reported in the prior year's December quarter. Operating income for the quarter was $252.6 million, a 12% decrease compared to $286.2 million for the previous quarter and a 20% decrease compared to $316.3 million reported in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

Debt decreased $46.7 million to $624.3 million and cash and cash equivalents decreased $4.6 million to $53.6 million during the quarter. Uses of cash during the quarter included capital expenditures of $161.8 million and payment of $14.6 million in dividends.

Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Bill Stewart said, "Revenue in the U.S. and Canada increased both sequentially and year over year, despite a relatively flat North America rig count, harsh winter storms in a number of areas in the U.S. and lower pricing in the U.S. and Canada pressure pumping operations.

"International pressure pumping revenue was down slightly compared to the previous quarter, as harsh weather conditions and other factors in certain markets slowed or delayed projects. International operating income margins were further impacted by equipment mobilization and maintenance costs, as well as other front-end costs related to projects scheduled to begin in the second fiscal quarter. As these new projects begin generating revenue, we expect international operating margins to improve in the second quarter and the remainder of the fiscal year.

"Our Oilfield Services group results were mixed, with seasonal declines in the Process and Pipeline Services group and lower Completion Fluids sales offsetting revenue improvements in Chemical Services, Tubular Services and Completion Tools, compared to the previous quarter.

"During the second quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect relatively flat drilling activity with continued pricing pressures in the U.S. market. We expect improved results in Canada as we enter the winter drilling season, and we also anticipate increased revenue and improved margins in the International Pressure Pumping segment. Our Oilfield Services group is projected to be up slightly in the second quarter as we expect revenue growth from Completion Tools and Completion Fluids will be partially offset by continued seasonal decline in our Process and Pipeline Services business. We are projecting earnings per share for the second fiscal quarter to be in the range of $0.55 to $0.57."

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