BJ Services' Revenues Hit by Lower Drilling Activity in North America

BJ Services has reported a net loss of $32.3 million, or $(0.11) per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2009, which ended June 30, 2009, compared to net earnings of $0.15 per diluted share reported in the previous quarter and $0.48 per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $786.9 million, a 25% decrease from the $1.05 billion reported in the previous quarter and a 41% decrease from the $1.33 billion reported in the prior year's June quarter. Operating loss for the quarter was $42.3 million, compared to operating income of $58.0 million for the previous quarter and $206.9 million reported in the third quarter of fiscal 2008. Operating income (loss) as a percentage of revenue was (5.4)% in the third quarter of fiscal 2009, compared to 5.5% in the previous quarter and 15.6% in the comparable quarter of the prior year. Third quarter results included $10.0 million of non-cash inventory write-downs, primarily representing reserves for slow-moving or excess inventory in the current environment, and inventory whose original cost exceeds current market value; fixed asset impairment charges of approximately $7.2 million, primarily related to idle, less efficient or higher maintenance assets to be permanently retired from the existing fleet; and approximately $6.4 million of employee severance costs, as the company continues to align its workforce with customer demand.

Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Bill Stewart said, "Decreased demand for oil and natural gas, largely attributable to the global economic recession, led to lower drilling activity and downward pressure on pricing during our fiscal third quarter, particularly in North America. Drilling activity in the U.S., as measured by average active drilling rigs, declined 29% sequentially and 50% compared to the same period a year ago. Our Canadian operations were negatively impacted by the spring break-up period during the quarter, and many operators have been slow to resume drilling activities coming out of break-up in the current economic climate. International activity has been less impacted, with average rig count outside of North America declining 5% sequentially and 13% year-over-year.

"Despite these unfavorable market conditions, we managed to generate significant operating cash flow during the quarter, as we continue our focus on operating efficiencies, working capital management and lower capital spending. We have reduced our global workforce by approximately 20% since our peak in November 2008, and have made great strides in reducing our overall cost structure. Our financial results began to reflect the full effect of these cost reduction measures late in the third quarter, and we are encouraged by our progress to this point. We believe that the efforts we have made and the strategies we have pursued position the company to return to profitability in the fourth fiscal quarter."

During the quarter, cash and cash equivalents decreased $13.5 million to $231.3 million, as the company repaid $42.0 million of indebtedness, reducing outstanding debt to $520.4 million. Other uses of cash during the quarter included capital expenditures of $76.1 million and the payment of $14.6 million in dividends. Debt repayable within the next twelve months is approximately $21.5 million, and the Company has no borrowings outstanding under its $400 million bank credit facility.

June Quarter Review

U.S./Mexico Pressure Pumping Services third quarter 2009 revenue of $314.0 million was 34% lower than the March 2009 quarter (sequential) with average active drilling rigs for the same period decreasing 27%. Compared to the June 2008 quarter (year-over-year), revenue decreased 55% on a 46% decrease in average active drilling rigs. For both the sequential and year-over-year periods, these decreases were attributable to lower fracturing and cementing activity in the U.S., coupled with a continued reduction in pricing for our services and products. Mexico revenues increased sequentially and year-over-year, due to increased activity both onshore and offshore.

Operating margin for U.S./Mexico decreased to a loss of (12)% in the third quarter from positive operating margins of 5% in the previous quarter and 21% in the same quarter last year. The lower operating margin was primarily attributable to lower U.S. drilling activity and lower pricing for our services and products.

Canada Pressure Pumping Services third quarter 2009 revenue of $23.3 million was 76% lower sequentially with average drilling rig activity down 72% primarily as a result of the spring break-up period. Year-over-year revenue decreased 52% with average drilling rig activity down 46% primarily as a result of decreased cementing and fracturing activity, as well as lower pricing. Operating margin for the third quarter of 2009 was (67)%, down from 6% in the previous quarter and down from (34)% in the same quarter in the previous year. The sequential margin decline was primarily the result of the seasonal decline in drilling activity associated with the spring break-up period coupled with lower pricing. The year-over-year margin decline was largely attributable to lower drilling activity and pricing.

International Pressure Pumping Services third quarter 2009 revenue of $264.8 million decreased 4% sequentially with average active drilling rig levels decreasing 5% for the same period. Revenue compared to the same quarter last year decreased 16% with average active drilling rig count down 13%.

The sequential improvement in the Middle East is largely attributable to increased activity in North Africa and India, while the sequential increase in Asia Pacific is largely attributable to increased activity in Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia, offset by reduced activity in China and Thailand. The sequential decline in Latin America is largely attributable to lower activity in Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia. The decline in Europe is largely due to lower North Sea drilling activity and lower pricing.

Year-over-year, revenues decreased in each segment of our International Pressure Pumping operations with declines of 5% in Asia Pacific, 11% in the Middle East, 18% in Latin America and 23% in Europe, with average active drilling rig declines of 10%, 9%, 20% and 13%, respectively. The Asia Pacific decrease reflects decreased activity levels in New Zealand and China. The Middle East decrease was primarily the result of decreased activity and lower pricing in Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. Latin America was negatively impacted by labor strikes in Argentina and decreased activity in Venezuela. The decline in Europe is primarily due to lower activity and lower pricing in the North Sea.

Our activity in Russia decreased sequentially and year-over-year as we continue to wind-down activity servicing the final remaining contract, which is expected to conclude in July 2009. As we exit the Russian pressure pumping market, we expect to reclassify our historical Russian operating results as discontinued operations during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

Operating income margin for International Pressure Pumping was 9% for the third quarter of fiscal 2009, compared to 8% reported in the previous quarter and 14% reported for the same quarter last year. The higher sequential margins were primarily the result of a full quarter impact of cost cutting efforts implemented in the previous quarter, coupled with the fact that the prior quarter results included a $4.2 million loss on the unfavorable resolution of a VAT refund claim in Indonesia. The lower margins compared to the previous year quarter were primarily due to overall activity declines and pricing pressures in certain international markets.

Oilfield Services Group third quarter 2009 revenue of $184.9 million decreased 11% sequentially and 30% year-over-year.

All of our Oilfield Services Group's operating segments, with the exception of Process & Pipeline Services, reported sequential revenue declines in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Completion Tools showed the largest sequential decreases in revenue, largely as a result of relatively large project-related international sales in the second quarter that did not repeat in the third quarter and lower activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Completion Fluids was also negatively impacted by the reduction in Gulf of Mexico shelf and deepwater activity. Other sequential revenue declines in the Oilfield Service Group were primarily attributable to lower market activity in the United States and certain international markets.

Year-over-year, Process & Pipeline Services revenues declined primarily due to the completion of certain large international projects between the two periods. Tubular Services revenues declined primarily due to lower service activity primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and Asia Pacific. Chemical Services and Completion Fluids revenues declined primarily as a result of decreased activity in the United States.

Completion Tools revenues also declined primarily due to lower sales both in the United States and internationally. The company has several relatively large international Completion Tools orders that it expects to ship during the fourth quarter.

The Oilfield Services Group operating income margin for the quarter was 6%, down from 10% in the previous quarter and 20% in the prior year's third quarter, reflecting the impact of lower activity levels described above.
 

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