Revenue in the fourth quarter rose a little more than 11%. Very strong growth in the energy services business (up 31%) was weighed down by a more challenging quarter in the slightly larger KBR construction and infrastructure business, where revenue dropped 3%. Profit growth was even hotter, and operating income grew 130% from the year-ago period as both businesses turned a profit on an operating basis.
Everybody from Apache
On the KBR side, it looks like the turnaround is still working. Revenue was down on decreased troop support activity in Iraq, but operating income improved in both the government/infrastructure and energy segment. In the latter case, increasing activity in liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquid projects is filling the backlog with what should prove to be profitable business. Investors should note that Halliburton will be spinning off this business and filing for an IPO sometime in early 2006.
When it comes to trying to make value calls on this sector, I surrender. Capacity is tight, and the cavalry isn't even in sight yet, which suggests that prices (and earnings) still have some room to climb. I'm really not trying to make the "it's different this time" argument, but as an investor in several oil-services companies, I can tell you that I'm not in any rush to sell today.
We've struck further Foolishness:
- Lots of Riches and Little Pain at Helmerich & Payne
- The Math Behind BJ Services
- Energy Rocks, Schlumberger Rolls
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).