What: Shares of C&J Energy Services (UNKNOWN:CJES.DL) were hit hard on Thursday after it reported disappointing third-quarter results. The company missed analysts' estimates, reporting a wider-than-expected loss.
So what: For the quarter, C&J Energy Services reported an adjusted loss of $76.5 million, or $0.65 per share, which was $0.02 per share more than the consensus estimate. Meanwhile, revenue of $427.5 million was a few million dollars weaker than analysts were expecting.
The company's stumbles can be directly attributed to "another extremely challenging quarter," according to CEO Josh Comstock, that was caused by "the sustained weakness and volatility in oil prices." In particular, the company's Completion Service segment was weak after a decline in activity levels was coupled with increased pricing pressure. Furthermore, its hydraulic fracturing services were deeply affected by two "atypical events," according to Comstock. First, it aggressively reduced pricing with one of its most active customers to maintain that relationship, resulting in weaker margins. Second, it changed to an alternative lubricant to reduce costs, but the product didn't perform to expectations. This, along with fluids that had metallurgical issues, caused failures and damaged parts. Because of these issues it was no surprise to see Comstock say that he was "disappointed" with the company's results.
It is worth noting, however, that C&J Energy Services' results contrasted starkly with those of its much larger peers, especially Halliburton's (NYSE:HAL). In fact, Halliburton President Jeff Miller said that he was "pleased" with the company's results. This was after Halliburton outperformed most of its peer group, including its largest rival, by delivering better revenue and margins on a sequential and year-over-year basis. Furthermore, because of its scale and diversification, Halliburton has been in a much better position to weather the downturn than a niche oil-field service company like C&J Energy Services.
Now what: Clearly, C&J Energy Services has some work to do to resolve its issues. It has already instituted a detailed action plan to enhance profitability, and Comstock noted that the initial results are positive. That has him confident that the fourth quarter will show some financial improvements. That said, the company could continue to struggle in 2016 if industry conditions don't improve.