Energy Business

Diamond Offshore Scratches Dividend After Huge Impairment Charge

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 results before markets opened on Monday. The offshore drill rig operator posted a quarterly diluted net loss per share of $1.79 and revenues of $556 million. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.72 on revenues of $675 million. Thomson Reuters had estimates for EPS of $0.54 and $515.63 million in revenue.

The company took a fourth-quarter after-tax, non-cash charge of $499 million ($2.68 per share) related to the impairment of nine drilling units.

For the full year, Diamond posted a net loss of $2.00 per share, compared with EPS of $2.81 in 2014. Results for the full year included non-cash charges of $860 million associated with the impairment of 17 drilling units, resulting in a non-cash, after-tax charge of $5.05 per share for the year. Revenues totaled $2.42 billion in 2015 compared with 2014 revenues of $2.82 billion. Analysts had been looking for EPS of $2.69 on revenues of $2.38 billion.

For investors the worse news is that Diamond’s board of directors has discontinued the company’s $0.125 quarterly dividend. The move preserves $69 million in cash annually.

Diamond is controlled by Loews Corp. (NYSE: L), which also reported results Monday morning and fared little better. Primarily a financial services company, Loews posted a net loss of $201 million in the quarter ($0.58 per share) and for the year, net income of $260 million ($0.72). Quarterly revenue totaled $3.33 billion and full-year revenue came in at $13.42 billion. Analysts had expected EPS of $2.65 and revenues of $13.51 billion.

Diamond Offshore’s president and CEO Marc Edwards said:

Given the severe and prolonged downturn in industry fundamentals, we believe it is prudent to bolster our already strong balance sheet. By conserving additional cash, we will have increased flexibility to manage the company through difficult market conditions and position ourselves for the eventual recovery in offshore drilling.

Drilling revenue for the quarter totaled $544.13 million, compared with $674.38 million in the prior-year quarter. Drilling expenses fell from $358.66 in the year-ago quarter to $256.39 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Some good news for the company is that day rates on its ultra-deepwater floating rigs rose from $493,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014 to $531,000, and the utilization rate rose from 66% a year ago to 70%. As of December 31, 2015, Diamond’s cold-stacked (stored) rigs included one ultra-deepwater semisubmersible, two deepwater semisubmersibles, four mid-water semisubmersibles and five jack-up rigs.

Diamond Offshore’s shares closed down about 0.9% on Friday, at $18.85 in a 52-week range of $14.18 to $37.56. The consensus price target on the stock is $19.36.

Loews stock closed down about 0.7% on Friday, at $36.29 in a 52-week range of $34.08 to $42.78. The consensus price target on Loews’ stock is $39.50.