Hess Beats Earnings and Revenue Forecasts
Energy exploration and production company Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES – $88.52) reported adjusted earnings for the first quarter, which exclude items affecting comparability, of $446 million or $1.38 per share, compared with $669 million or $1.95 per share in the prior year quarter. The decrease in results was primarily due to the impact on operating earnings related to divesting E&P assets and downstream businesses. Total revenue came in at $2.6 billion vs. last year’s $3.47 billion, but above forecasts of $2.2 billion. Cash flow was strong in the first quarter at $1.41 billion, before working capital charges. The company has sold off billions of dollars in assets to raise cash and narrow its focus, which now includes a few large oil-and-gas projects, including its programs in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota where it expanded its Tioga gas plant last month. Most recently, Hess reached a deal to sell its assets in Thailand. In January, the company filed with the SEC for a potential spinoff of its retail unit, but also left the door open for a sale of the business. Hess purchased 12.6 million shares during the first quarter bringing total share repurchases to nearly 32 billion over the past year for a total cost of about $2.54 billion. While not providing any guidance for the remainder of the year, Hess CEO John Hess is “enthusiastic” about the company’s newly positioned future. With first quarter numbers stronger than forecast, I believe HES can earn upwards of $5.00 for the full year and dividends should outpace earnings growth given the company’s strong cash flow.