As one HP falls, another rises. Times may be tough right now for Hewlett-Packard, but they're getting better every day for contract drilling company Helmerich & Payne
Second-quarter results were quite good for the driller. Total revenue climbed 40%, and the opportunity to leverage costs into a higher revenue base led operating income to grow more than sixfold.
As in the past, results were led by the U.S. land-based operations. Operating revenue climbed 57% as activity days grew 10% and average daily rig revenue increased 44%. Rig margins also improved and the company posted nearly 400% growth in operating profits.
U.S. offshore operations saw revenue decline on lower activity days and utilization, though average revenue per rig per day increased nearly 17%. For international operations, revenue climbed nearly 30%, and operating income basically tripled.
Running at more than 90% utilization for U.S. land rigs and seeing a strong ongoing demand for drilling, H&P has commissioned some new rigs to be built. Starting in November, the first of 22 new rigs should be delivered -- all of which will operate under three-year contracts with appealing dayrates and profitability right off the bat.
Given that the company itself is building new rigs, it's no great surprise to hear that management expects to see new building across the sector. And that's how this game works -- prices go up, excess capacity is slurped up, prices keep going up, new capacity is built, and then rates start going back down.
Part of what distinguishes H&P, though, is a commitment to customer service and customer relationships. About three-quarters of the company's fleet is relatively modern (less than 10 years old) and the company focuses on high-quality service, not simply "have rig, will drill"-style price-based competition.
I am think we'll see a few more years of a strong land-based drilling market before the inevitable cyclical peak and slowdown. During that time, drillers such as H&P should see banner growth in profitability. So long as the market for drilling stays hot (which should be the case as long as oil prices stay above $40), service providers such as H&P, Nabors Industries
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).