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While oil prices rebounded sharply in the second quarter, that didn't fuel an increase in demand for the pipes, valves, or fittings that MRC Global (NYSE:MRC) distributes to the sector. Because of that, its financial results continued to decline. That trend is not expected to reverse until its customers start spending again, which might not happen anytime soon.

MRC Global results: The raw numbers


Q2 2016 Actuals

Q2 2015 Actuals

Growth (YOY)


$746 million

$1.2 billion


Net income

($23 million)

$15 million






Data source: MRC Global.

What happened with MRC Global this quarter?

The global oil market meltdown continues to sap demand for MRC Global's goods.

  • While MRC Global's sales slumped significantly year over year, revenue was only down 5% from last quarter and matched its expectations.
  • Sales to upstream customers took the biggest hit, down 51% from the year-ago quarter because of lower customer activity and the sale of the company's U.S. oil country tubular good product line. After adjusting for that divestiture, U.S. upstream sales slumped 40%, which actually outperformed the 53% decline in the U.S. rig count. Meanwhile, international upstream sales fell 13%.
  • Midstream revenue was down 30%, driven by a 44% decline in sales to transmission customers.
  • Finally, downstream revenue slumped 30%, led by a 31% decline in sales to U.S. customers.
  • Sales, general, and administrative expenses remained elevated at 18.1% of sales, which is up from 13.3% of sales in the prior quarter.

What management had to say

CEO Andrew Lane discussed the company's results as follows:

Revenue was in line with our expectations this quarter. ... In the second quarter, the business generated $90 million in cash from operations for a total of $148 million in cash from operations generated so far this year. We also made progress under our stock repurchase program buying $33 million in stock during the second quarter, bringing us to a total of $83 million of shares bought back since we announced the authorization in November 2015. We remain focused on executing our strategy to retain and win customers, strengthen the balance sheet, manage operating costs, and optimize working capital. MRC Global is well positioned regardless of market conditions.

While the oil market downturn is proving to be very challenging, MRC Global is meeting that challenge by managing costs so that it can continue generating cash flow. Because of that, the company's balance sheet remains in solid shape, which positions it to ride out the current storm.

Looking forward

At the moment, there's no telling how long that storm will last. Because of that, MRC Global does not have much visibility into the future, with Lane noting that "looking forward, we do not expect a significant change in activity until customers increase capital spending." Given the renewed weakness in oil prices over the past few weeks, it could be a while before customers loosen their purse strings and start spending again. This likely means that MRC Global's financial results will remain under pressure for the foreseeable future.

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