What happened

Shares of Core Laboratories (NYSE:CLB) had declined by as much as 6.3% by 10:45 a.m. EDT on Thursday. Weighing on the oil-field services stock was its third-quarter report.  

So what

Core Labs reported $118 million of revenue for the third quarter, which was well below the low end of its guidance range of $122 million to $126 million. Because of that, earnings also missed the mark. The company posted $13 million of operating income, which also fell short of its $14 million to $15 million guidance range. Likewise, earnings per share of $0.18 came in below its $0.19 to $0.21 forecast. 

Oil field worker with a laptop at sunset.

Image source: Getty Images.

Several issues affected its results in the quarter. Core Labs noted that multiple weather events along the U.S. Gulf Coast hurt its operations. In addition, it continued to experience pandemic-related project delays in international markets and supply chain issues. 

On a more positive note, the company's free cash flow improved 33% sequentially to $8.8 million. That enabled it to pay its dividend while also reducing its net debt by $5.4 million, or about 3%. That pushed its leverage ratio down to 2.1 times debt to adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Core Labs aims to continue using excess cash to reduce debt in the coming quarters. 

Now what

Core Labs expects its results to improve in the fourth quarter. It sees revenue in the range of $121 million to $124 million and earnings per share of $0.18 to $0.22. But the company continues to face some near-term headwinds due to the sluggish rebound in international and offshore market conditions. These issues could keep the weight on Core's stock price until it delivers a noticeable improvement in its financial results.

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