C&J Energy Services (NYSE:CJES) continues to be one of the most aggressive firms in the oil services sector. In the first quarter, the company is starting to see the benefit of aggressively building out assets during the downturn of the last couple of years.
The interesting takeaways from the earnings report are a substantial increase in revenue, a rebound in income, an ongoing push to add more assets, and no mention of weather disruptions despite industrywide issues during the quarter. The growth surpasses the gains made by the oil services majors and hugely disappointing results from Key Energy Services (NYSE:KEG). Even Basic Energy Services (NYSE:BAS), which has seen a huge gain in its shares, still reported a loss for the quarter, but the oil service player is making some aggressive moves.
C&J Energy Services generated a 19% sequential increase in revenue to reach $316.5 million. The number jumped 15% over the prior year period in 2013. The company saw adjusted EBITDA jump to $43 million, compared to $36.5 million for the previous quarter. Unfortunately, due to higher costs, the profit numbers were down from the previous year period. The good news is that a lot of the costs were to prepare for expansion plans, including a move to the Middle East.
The company saw operating income drop 50% compared to last year due to higher direct costs and especially administrative expenses that jumped nearly 30%.
The major revenue gains came from the hydraulic fracturing operations that grew revenue an incredible 27% sequentially from the fourth quarter. Activity hit record levels during January, and the company completed 2,225 fracturing stages during the quarter compared to 1,408 in the previous quarter.
Key Energy Service had disappointing results on all fronts. Not only did the company have sequentially flat U.S. revenue, but it saw total revenue drop due to moving operations out of Mexico. Even worse, Key Energy saw negative operating income for the quarter. The results of C&J Energy Services exceed those of Basic Energy, which only grew revenue 9% sequentially and 11% over the first quarter of 2013. The company still reported a loss, though greatly improved over the prior quarters.
Expansion plans continue
Despite the weak pricing environment, C&J Energy Services decided to aggressively expand anyway. The company deployed 20,000 hydraulic horsepower at the end of April and plans to deploy an additional 40,000 new hydraulic horsepower early in the third quarter of this year. In addition, it recently committed an additional 40,000 new hydraulic horsepower for deployment by the fourth quarter. The company plans to bring online additional coiled tubing, wireline, and pumpdown capacity during the year to capitalize on growing demand in the sector.
C&J Energy Services isn't alone, with Basic Energy Services ramping up capital spending. The company recently decided to spend $50 million more on adding 60,000 horsepower for hydraulic fracking equipment. In total, Basic Energy is only spending $155 million for expansion projects making the increase a considerable increase to the plan for the year.
The expansion moves by C&J Energy Services started showing up positively in the first quarter results. The company outperformed the general competitors in the industry, and the sector as a whole continues to improve. With further equipment additions and the expansion into Saudi Arabia taking hold during the second quarter, the company is primed for a strong year.
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Mark Holder and Stone Fox Capital clients own shares of C&J Energy Services. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.