Leading contract drilling company Noble Corporation NE reported first-quarter 2017 loss of 17 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of loss of 19 cents. The reported figure compared unfavorably with the year-ago quarter earnings of 31 cents per share. Higher utilization of jackups and lower operating costs contributed to the improvement.
Total revenue in the quarter declined to $363 million from $612 million in the last-year comparable quarter. The top line, however, came in above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $361.78 million. Contract Drilling Services contributed $354.7 million to total revenue, down 40% year over year.
Noble Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Noble Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Noble Corporation Quote
First-Quarter Operating Highlights
Net loss from continuing operations was $42 million, which compared unfavorably with a net income of $78 million in the first quarter of 2016. Total rig utilization decreased to 69% from the year-earlier level of 79%. The average dayrate fell to $202,674 from $287,169 in the year-ago quarter.
The average dayrate for Drillships of $405,719 was also lower than $506,141 a year ago. Average capacity utilization decreased to 68% from 100% in the year-ago quarter.
The average dayrate for the company's jackups was $123,154 compared with $134,868 in the prior-year quarter. Average capacity utilization increased to 93% from the year-ago level of 84%.
The average dayrate for the company's semisubmersibles was $131,015 compared with $258,786 in the prior-year quarter. Average capacity utilization decreased to 17% from the year-ago level of 48%.
As of Mar 31, 2016, 54% of the company's available rig operating days were committed for 2017, including 32% of floating rig days and 77% of jackup rig days. For 2018, an estimated 40% of available rig operating days are committed, consisting of 29% and 50% floating and jackup rig days, respectively. As of Mar 31, 2017, overall total backlog was approximately $5.5 billion.
At the end of the reported quarter, the company had a cash balance of $519.8 million and long-term debt of $3,792.5 million, with debt-to-capitalization ratio of 38%.
At present, Noble Corp. carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are SunCoke Energy, Inc. SXC, Enerplus Corporation ERF and Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. BXE. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
SunCoke Energy posted a positive earnings surprise of 120.0% in the preceding quarter. The company beat estimates in two of the four trailing quarters with an average negative earnings surprise of 35.78%.
Enerplus Corporation posted a positive earnings surprise of 66.67% in the preceding year quarter.
Bellatrix Exploration posted a positive earnings surprise of 240.00% in the preceding quarter. It surpassed estimates in three of the four trailing quarters with an average positive earnings surprise of 58.54%.
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