EXCO 3rd Quarter Earnings Did Not Impress

Recent energy industry laggard EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO  ) missed analysts' estimates for the quarter. Their lackluster earnings report certainly won't give investors much confidence moving forward.

By the numbers
Oil & Gas revenues for EXCO dropped 27% year over year. This could be overlooked, because gas prices for the quarter have also dropped 28% since this time last year, but overall production for the company was also down 7% and 6% sequentially and year over year, respectively. Non-GAAP adjusted earnings per share of $0.13, which doesn't count one-time writedowns, still missed analyst expectations of $0.15. Including the $318 million pre-tax non-cash ceiling test writedown of assets, total diluted earnings per share were $1.62.

During the company's conference call, EXCO CEO Douglas Miller commented on the prospects of several acquisitions "in the pipeline." None of these deals have been executed, but they will more than likely be smaller buys. Recently, the company has been very prudent with its acquisitions, and has only been buying with cash on hand. In order to bring costs down, it has drastically reduced its rig count from 28 this time last year, to seven, today. While some investors might applaud the effort, this could possibly hamper the company's ability to ramp up production if demand were to increase.

What a Fool believes
EXCO hasn't found its footing following the financial collapse. The past four quarters' revenue represents less than 40% of its top line for FY 2008. The company has made great efforts to cut costs, and it has kept free cash flow positive for the year. It's still hard to look past the four straight quarters of net losses, though.

Companies that have lots of capital tied up in assets will write down those assets from time to time. Investors can forgive a quarter or two here and there when a net loss appears on the balance sheet to adjust the value of these assets. With EXCO, though, these writedown losses appear to be a bit more habitual, lately. Investors may start to wonder if the company overvalued some of its assets.

Company

Return on Assets

5 yr expected EPS growth

P/E

Dividend yield

EXCO Resources

-17.49%

15.00%

N/A (no earnings)

2%

Enerplus Resources Fund (NYSE: ERF  )

-1.33%

21.2%

N/A (no earnings)

6.9%

Pengrowth Energy Trust (NYSE: PGH  )

0.84%

5.4%

102.9

8.1%

Sandride Energy (NYSE: SD  )

8.34%

218.1%

3.79

N/A

Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE: ETP  )

4.79%

22.7%

9.12

8.3%

Source, Yahoo! Finance

Some investors might consider the company a value play, based on the share price and its dividend, but it  hasn't shown enough life as of late to justify an investment. Furthermore, a 2% dividend is the average for the entire S&P 500. Two percent is not as attractive when you consider some of the other monster dividend payers in the energy industry. Putting it together, you should stay away from EXCO.

If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays, check out The Motley Fool's 3 Stocks for $100 Oil. You can get free access to this special report by clicking here.

Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow him at Fool.com under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google +, or on Twitter @TylerCroweFool.

The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 01, 2012, at 4:11 PM, ronbeasley wrote:

    Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross recently accumulated a 13% stake in EXCO and joined its board. But a "Fool" (aptly named) subscription salesman thinks he is smarter than Ross. To state the obvious, don't bet on it.

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