Schlumberger Revenue Falls on Weak Demand
Technology supplier to the oil and gas industry, Schlumberger, Ltd. (NYSE: SLB – $72.85), reported results for the third quarter that topped the Street view on EPS by a penny despite revenues that missed projections. The company reported net income from continuing operations of $989 million, or $0.78 per share, down from $1.95 billion, or $1.49 per share, in the same period a year ago but topping analyst estimates of $0.77. Total revenues of $8.47 billion were down 33% from $12.65 billion in the third quarter of 2014 and fell short of analyst projections of $8.55 billion. Revenues in North America were particularly hard hit showing a 47% decline, while international sales fell 27% from a year-ago. Schlumberger’s third-quarter revenue decreased 6% sequentially (i.e. second quarter ending June) driven by a continuing decline in rig activity and persistent pricing pressure throughout its global operations. Full year earnings will probably settle at $3.20 per share and not fare much better next year. The company announced an additional round of job cuts during its conference call, adding that it will take a restructuring charge in the fourth quarter and the outlook for 2016 would be weaker than this year. One goal for the company is to inject more technologically advanced products and services into their product lineup, in order to preserve pricing and margins. That may be accomplished through straight product sales or via performance-based contracts — an option that drillers are increasingly considering to reduce per-well costs. The company is also taking serious cost cutting measures to better align operations with demand. The pending acquisition of Cameron International will also provide new growth areas and “one-stop-shopping” for energy companies. The good-quality stock offers sizable long-term capital gains potential, but patience will be required. A sustained upturn in oil prices out to decade’s end remains a key consideration for an earnings advance for SLB and the beaten down shares can be held for long-term capital gains recovery.