How Hess Earnings Disappointed Investors

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Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results before markets opened Monday. For the quarter, the oil and gas producer posted an adjusted diluted net loss per share of $1.01 on revenues of $1.3 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported a loss of $1.01 per share on revenues of $1.39 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.91 per share and revenues of $1.31 billion.

For the full year, Hess reported an adjusted net loss of $4.61 per share and revenues of $5.41 billion compared to a per-share net loss of $4.94 and revenues of $4.84 billion in the prior year. Analysts had been looking for a net loss of $4.52 and $5.16 billion in revenues.

Fourth-quarter 2017 results reflect net after-tax charges totaling $2.37 billion, including a noncash accounting charge of $1.7 billion to reduce the carrying value of Hess’ interests in the Stampede and Tubular Bells Fields in the Gulf of Mexico, as a result of a lower long-term crude oil price outlook.

CEO John Hess said:

In the past year, our company successfully completed an ambitious asset sales program, replaced 351 percent of production at an attractive F&D cost of just over $5 per barrel, continued our extraordinary exploration success on the Stabroek Block in Guyana and sanctioned the Liza Phase 1 development with plans underway for the next two phases. We enter 2018 well positioned to deliver a decade plus of capital efficient growth with increasing cash generation and returns to shareholders.

Exploration and production capital and exploratory expenditures totaled $568 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from $411 million in the prior-year quarter. For the full year, capex totaled $2.05 billion, up from $1.87 billion in 2016. The company estimates capex for this year at $2.1 billion.

Hess did not provide revenue or earnings guidance, but consensus estimates call for a net loss per share of $0.66 in the first quarter of 2018 on revenues of $1.14 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for a net loss of $2.55 per share and $4.87 billion in revenues.

Hess did say it expects production in the range of 245,000 to 255,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2018, compared to pro forma production of 242,000 barrels in 2017.

Shares traded down about 4% in Monday’s premarket session to $46.00, in a 52-week range of $37.25 to $55.48. The 12-month price target on the stock is $56.30.