Did Willbros Fall Too Much?

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Most companies make their filings on time, or at least within the range of the following quarter. When a company misses this time frame it usually signals that there are larger problems at work within the company. Willbros Group Inc. (NYSE: WG) was the victim of this sentiment Wednesday, after it announced that will be filing its 2014 annual report late.

In a press release from Willbros, the company said it determined that it would be unable to file its annual report within the prescribed time period without unreasonable effort or expense.

The key reason Willbros listed was described as:

The Company has determined that a material weakness existed at December 31, 2014, over the assessment of significant risks and uncertainties associated with its ability to comply with financial covenants contained in its credit agreements, and over the assessment of its ability to meet its liquidity and capital resource needs for a reasonable period of time, primarily as a result of not reflecting certain business conditions timely and adequately in its forecast process.

In simpler words, this material weakness would not allow for the accurate accounting of total revenues, costs and profits.

Chairman and CEO John McNabb blamed the downturn in energy prices for the predicament, and as a matter of fact he is justified in saying that. Willbros only has a market cap of $139 million, and it deals in the specialty energy infrastructure contractor field, serving the oil, gas, refining, petrochemical and power industries.

As oil has fallen over the months, the bigger companies are tightening their belts, but the smaller guy generally isn’t as flexible. To make matters worse, usually the first to get the hatchet when cutting costs in this situation is the contractor.

Regardless of the situation in whatever industry, failing to report on time does put off investors as well as signaling weakness.

Willbros stock hit a 52-week low during Wednesday’s trading session, falling all the way to $1.50, roughly 73% down from the previous close of $5.48. However the stock did bounce off this low to close at $2.69, up about 80% from the low but down 51% on the day.

The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $5.94 and a 52-week trading range of $1.50 to $13.69. On the day, over 13 million shares have moved, compared to its average daily volume of 411,000.

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