Why Schlumberger Q4 Earnings Disappointed Investors

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Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results before markets opened on Friday. The oil field services firm reported adjusted diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48 on revenues of $8.18 billion. In the same period a year ago, Schlumberger reported adjusted EPS of $0.27 on $7.11 billion in revenues. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for $0.44 in EPS and revenues of $8.13 billion.

For the full year, the company reported adjusted EPS of $1.50 on revenues of $30.44 billion, compared with 2016 EPS of $1.14 and revenues of $27.81 billion. Analysts were looking for $1.46 per share and $30.38 billion.

On a GAAP basis, Schlumberger posted a quarterly per share loss of $1.08 and a full-year net loss per share of $1.63. A year ago the fourth-quarter net loss totaled $1.24 and the net loss for the full-year came in at $0.15.

Schlumberger took a $1.11 billion pretax charge in the fourth quarter related to its WesternGeco restructuring. Other charges included a $938 million write-down on its Venezuelan investment and $247 million for other workforce reductions among other charges totaling $2.21 billion. The company noted a $76 million benefit from changes to U.S. tax law.

CEO Paal Kibsgaard said:

Looking at the oil market, the strong growth in demand is projected to continue in 2018, on the back of a robust global economy. On the supply side, the extension of the OPEC- and Russia-led production cuts is already translating into higher-than-expected inventory draws. In North America, 2018 shale production is set for another year of strong growth, as the positive oil market sentiments will likely increase both investment appetite and availability of financing. … These positive oil market sentiments are reflected in the third-party E&P spend surveys, which predict 15-20% growth in North American investments in 2018, while the international market is expected to grow for the first time in four years, with a projected 5% increase in spend.

During the fourth quarter, Schlumberger repurchased 1.6 million shares of stock at an average price of $64.82 per share for a total cost of $101 million.

Schlumberger did not offer guidance in its press release, but consensus estimates call for first-quarter EPS of $0.44 and revenues of $8.09 billion. For the full year, EPS is forecast at $2.21 on revenues of $34.21 billion.

Shares traded down about 0.9% in Friday’s premarket to $75.70. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.02 to $87.78. The 12-month consensus price target was $76.78 before results were announced.