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Allis-Chalmers post-earnings update

Allis-Chalmers Energy (ALY) formally announced their Q4 and full year earnings. Things were pretty much as they said they would be back on January 31 when they presented their preliminary unaudited results for 2007.

Here are the final numbers:
  • For the fourth quarter of 2007, the company earned $5.8 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $10.4 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier.
  • Revenue in the quarter rose 25 percent to $143.8 million compared to $114,898 million a year earlier.
  • On an annual basis, the company earned $50.4 million versus $35.6 million in 2006
  • Revenue in 2007 came in at $571 million compared to 2006's $311 million.
Management's message on Q4 is as follows: "as we reported in our January 31, 2008 press release, our results in the fourth quarter were affected primarily by weakness in demand for drill pipe in the Gulf of Mexico due to the hurricane season and the departure of rigs to the international market, start up costs and low utilization of our coil tubing units, pre-election labor slow downs and strikes in Argentina, and flooding in Mexico.”

In looking at the 8-K, several items jump out.

First, the good news. Top line growth has been quite satisfactory. Income from operations is up 84% in 2007 compared to 2006.

Unfortunately, the company has not been able to convert revenues into earnings at a comparable rate. In addition to the problems specific to the fourth quarter described above, it seems various expenses in 2007 have served to reduce both net income and earnings per share.

Weighted average shares of common stock outstanding on a diluted basis increased 62.1% in 2007. This dilution significantly impacted earnings per share. This share issuance was related to the need to pay for acquisitions, some of which were executed in 2006. Additionally, one of the biggest factors reducing profitability involved interest expenses which in 2007 were more than double those in 2006. I assume these interest expenses are related to the spate of acquisitions the company made.

Where does that leave us?

The stock price took quite a hit in the last few days despite the fact that all this information was announced over a month ago. Interestingly, the stock was first brought to my attention early last week by generating a BUY signal during a test run of the Alert HQ software. By the end of the week, however, the decline in the price had prevented the stock from showing up on the weekly BUY list. Still, this could be an opportunity to buy the stock while it is down but not out.

The company has moved to increase its international footprint by acquiring Bronco Drilling and by obtaining more rigs that can also be deployed internationally. This is meant to offset the flat growth being experienced in the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. These moves will not begin to bear fruit until the second or third quarter of 2008.

Some of the situations that hurt Q4 in 2007 are not expected to re-occur. Flooding in Mexico and strikes in Argentina are somewhat unusual one-time events that don't typically impact company earnings to the extent they did this time.

The hurricane season seems predictable so it is unclear to me why that was used as an excuse. As rigs leave the Gulf for international sites, service companies like ALY lose customers. This is another reason why the company is so intent on increasing both its international reach and its capabilities.

In summary, with the energy industry continuing to look robust and Allis-Chalmers making the right moves to expand capabilities and geographic reach, it is still reasonable to think we have seen the low for the company's stock price. Despite recent weakness, there is a good expectation that an investor's patience will be rewarded.

Comments

Great post! I definitely agree with what you stated. Your explanation about post-earnings was certainly the easiest to understand.

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