PACD makes strong start

Pacific Drilling, the Idan Ofer-controlled company, has made a strong start to 2014 with a 47% jump in earnings.

The US-listed drillship owner said net income came in at $22.2m versus the $15m seen twelve months earlier.

Earnings per share (EPS) were 10 US cents beating a consensus of analyst’s estimates of 9 US cents per share.

Revenue for the three months ended 31 March 2014 were $225.6m compared to $175m for the same period last year.

“We delivered our fifth consecutive quarter of increasing revenue,” Pacific Drilling chief executive Chris Beckett said in a statement.

“Cash flow from operations reached a new high, and ebitda exceeded $100m for the first time. However, we have room to improve.

“During the first quarter, the challenges of starting operations with the Pacific Khamsin were greater than we anticipated and resulted in a reduction to revenue and ebitda.”

Regarding the market for ultra-deepwater drillships, Beckett said that the company saw “an increase in bidding activity” compared to the previous quarter; but this activity has yet to translate into signed contracts.

“Although there are very few modern, high-specification ultra-deepwater rigs available, we expect 2014 to continue to be a challenging market,” he said.

“There are many older fifth-generation rigs, which we expect will provide lower-priced competition on some projects.

“In an effort to minimize the impact of these lower-specification units on our dayrates, we are focusing on opportunities that require the newest and highest-specification rigs.”

Pacific Drilling operates five drillships and has three further drillships under construction at Samsung Heavy Industries