What: Shares of FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI) are up 13% as of 11:00am today. While the rising tide of the energy market is lifting all boats today, FMC's share jump is a bit surprising considering the company missed muted earnings expectations for the quarter.
So What: FMC ended the fourth quarter with net income of of $55.6 million, down more than two-thirds from the same time last year. When adjusting for one time charges, earnings per share of $0.46 were just below what analysts were expecting for the quarter.
Looking forward, the situation isn't looking much better, either. Not only did FMC see its backlog of orders decline by more than a third, but two of its largest competitors are making some transformative changes that could drastically impact FMC's bread and butter business of supplying subsea equipment. Late last year, Cameron International (UNKNOWN:CAM.DL) was acquired by Schlumberger, which means that many of Schlumberger's bids for offshore contract work will likely be bundled with Cameron equipment. As the worlds largest offshore oil services contractor, Schlumberger carries a lot of weight here.
To make matters worse, General Electric (NYSE:GE) is teaming up with Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) to start a subsea equipment leasing program. The idea is that instead of doing direct sales of equipment such as blowout preventors, General Electric will lease the equipment to Diamond and will be repsonsible for maintenance of the equipment on the job site. The idea is to lower the amount of downtime attribuatble to subsea equipment maintenance. If the move becomes popular, then either FMC and others may need to replicate the model or could lose some business to GE.
Now What: Today's share jump looks more like an immediate reaction to the broader market, so longer term investors should probably pay no mind. Even if we see a rebound in oil prices pretty soon, chances are demand for offshore drilling activity and subsea equipment will lag behind for a while as producers clean up balance sheets and plan their next investments. With Schlumberger and General Electric making this interesting moves regarding how subsea equipment is sold, FMC may be faced with some new challenges in the coming year as it adapts to this new market dynamic.
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