Oil drilling company Patterson-UTI Energy yet again posted disappointing quarterly numbers despite the oil drilling business growing leaps and bounds in North America.
The company provides two of the most essential services for shale drilling - high-specification rigs capable of handling complex shale jobs and pressure pumping services to frack shale wells and make them producing. Despite providing some critical services and being present right at the epicenter of booming shale production, the company’s net loss for Q3 grew by ~600% compared to the previous quarter, whereas the operating loss grew by ~790% during the same period.
One of the main reasons for this quarter may have fallen short is the decision to retire 42 of its older legacy rigs and take a $48.4 million impairment charge. The other major reason may have been the company’s increased capital expenditure in the last few quarters for upgrading the rigs, which resulted in high deprecation costs. These two non-cash expenses dented the bottom-line in a big way.
Despite the losses, the picture isn’t as bad as it looks, and it could be only a couple of tough quarters before it gets back on the growth track again.
Even though the company posted losses in last few quarters, it was still able to pay dividends and buy back shares worth $100 million so far this year – indicating the strong financial health of the company.