News Column

SeaBird Exploration Plc: First Quarter Report 2014

May 5, 2014

2014 SUMMARY OBSERVATIONS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER * Revenues for the quarter were $33.7 million, a decrease of 33% compared to the comparable period in 2013 and down 13% relative to Q4 2013. * Contract revenues for the period were $30.5 million, down 39% from Q1 2013 and down 9% from Q4 2013. * Multi-client revenues were $3.2 million, up from $0.1 million reported in Q1 2013 and a decrease of 37% from $5.1 million reported in Q4 2013. * Contract surveys during the first quarter represented 64% of vessel capacity compared to 53% during the fourth quarter 2013. * EBITDA was $10.2 million compared to $11.5 million for Q1 2013 and $3.9 million for Q4 2013. * EBIT for the quarter was $2.4 million compared to $5.4 million for Q1 2013 and negative $4.6 million for Q4 2013. * Vessel utilization for the period was 76% compared to 56% in the prior quarter. Operational review Higher utilization and multi-client investment resulted in improved earnings for the period. Enhanced focus on expense management also positively impacted results. Market demand for 2D and source capacity strengthened towards the latter part of the period. However, the 3D segment has been slower to recover. Pricing has remained firm. Contract surveys represented 64% of vessel capacity compared to 53% for the fourth quarter of 2013. Hawk Explorer and Northern Explorer commenced a joint 20,000 kilometer survey in East Africa. In March, Osprey Explorer initiated a 5,800 kilometer 2D survey in South America. Aquila Explorer completed a 2D survey with a major oil company in Australasia and is continuing to operate within the region. Harrier Explorer and Munin Explorer both performed source operations during the period. We continue to see demand for source operations and a significant portion of the fleet was employed in this market during the first quarter. There has also been further interest in longer-term contracts as well as framework agreements. During the quarter, we signed a three-year master service agreement with a major industry participant. Moreover, the company executed a letter of intent with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company to acquire up to 200,000 kilometers of 2D seismic data in Mexico. Multi-client sales were lower compared to the previous quarter. The majority of revenues in this segment related to prefunding of Geo Pacific's West African survey. The remaining portion was primarily associated with late sales from pre- 2013 surveys. Multi-client utilization was 12% for the period compared to 3% in the fourth quarter of 2013. The increased activity relates to the Geo Pacific's 2,600 square kilometer 3D multi-client program. The survey is anticipated to be completed towards the end of the second quarter. There were no yard stays or significant upgrades carried out during the period. Vessel utilization was 76%, up from 56% in the fourth quarter. Operational performance of the fleet was solid, with technical downtime below 4%. The company reported lost time injury frequency (LTIF) rate of zero. Pre- qualification audits were also completed for two oil companies, with both resulting in the company's status being upgraded to the highest level. Regional overview Revenues in Europe Africa and the Middle East (EAME) improved significantly from the prior period with half of the fleet active in this region. Repositioning of vessel capacity to the EAME region resulted in decreased revenues in North and South America (NSA). Asia Pacific (APAC) revenues were down slightly from the fourth quarter of 2013 due to reduced multi-client sales. Lower niche 3D demand also impacted this region. Sales in EAME of $17.1 million accounted for 51% of total revenues. Revenues increased compared to the prior period as Northern Explorer completed a longer contract in the Mediterranean and repositioned to commence a joint project with Hawk Explorer in East Africa. This project will keep both vessels active in the region through the majority of the second quarter. Moreover, Geo Pacific initiated its first multi-client project in West Africa. Harrier Explorer continued its source contract in the North Sea. APAC sales of $10.4 million accounted for 31% of total revenues. APAC revenues were down slightly compared to the fourth quarter 2013. Aquila Explorer completed a 2D survey with a major oil company and will operate within the region throughout the second quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, Voyager Explorer commenced a 2D project. Sales in NSA of $6.2 million represented 18% of total revenues. The decrease in NSA revenues was mainly due to the repositioning of the Geo Pacific to West Africa and a delay in contract start-up for Osprey Explorer's project in South America. Outlook The 2D and source market tender activity improved in the first part of 2014 and the company's backlog recovered substantially. However, we continue to see delays in permitting as well as commitment of prefunding, which are both impacting the startup of new projects. Moreover, in light of the short visibility in the seismic industry we would like to see the current demand continue for some time before we feel comfortable that the market has fully stabilized. The recovery in the niche 3D market has been slower to materialize. While we are reviewing a number of potential contract opportunities, the tender activity is below historical market levels. Pricing in all segments and regions has remained firm and we would largely anticipate day rates to remain stable through the first half of the year. Given the current levels of prefunding, the company may find it more challenging to identify attractive multi-client opportunities. For existing surveys, late sales are expected to continue but revenues are difficult to predict given the limited size of the library. FINANCIAL REVIEW Financial comparison All figures below relate to continuing operations unless otherwise stated.  For discontinued operations, see note 1. The company reports a net loss of $0.6 million for Q1 2014 (profit of $1.8 million in the same period in 2013). Revenues were $33.7 million in Q1 2014 ($50.0 million). The decreased revenues are primarily due to lower vessel utilization and increased multi-client activity during the period. Cost of sales was $19.7 million in Q1 2014 ($34.1 million). The decrease is mainly due to an increase in multi-client activity and a continued cost focus across the fleet. SG&A was $4.9 million in Q1 2014, up from $4.6 million in Q1 2013. This is principally due to an increase in employee numbers in line with a larger fleet size. EBITDA was $10.2 million in Q1 2014 ($11.5 million). Depreciation and amortization were $7.8 million in Q1 2014 ($6.0 million). The increase is predominantly due to an increase in multi-client sales amortization in the period. Interest expense was $3.0 million in Q1 2014 ($3.0 million). Other financial items, net expense, of positive $0.2 million in Q1 2014 (negative $0.1 million). The change is mainly due to currency fluctuations. Income tax expense was $0.3 million in Q1 2014 (expense of $0.6 million). The decrease is predominantly due to operating in regions with lower corporate and withholding tax rates during the quarter. Capital expenditures were $2.4 million in Q1 2014 ($6.8 million). Capital cost items for the quarter related to the purchase of routine seismic and other equipment across the fleet. Multi-client investment was $7.4 million in Q1 2014 ($0.2 million), which related to the Geo Pacific's 3D multi-client survey in West Africa. Net profit from discontinued operations was $0.4 million for Q1 2014 (loss of $0.5 million). Discontinued operations represent the remaining contractual obligations of the ocean bottom node (OBN) business, which was divested in 2011. Liquidity and financing Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period were $16.0 million ($16.5 million), of which $4.3 million was restricted in connection with deposits and the bond service account. Net cash from operating activities was $14.9 million in Q1 2014 ($8.2 million). The company has one bond loan, one convertible loan and the Hawk Explorer finance lease. * The 6% secured bond loan has a face value of $83.9 million and is recognized in the books at amortized cost of $76.9 million per Q1 2014. The bond loan matures 19 December 2015 and has principal amortization due in semi-annual increments of $2.0 million that started 19 December 2012. * The 1% unsecured convertible loan with Perestroika AS has a face value of $14.9 million and is recognized in the books at amortized cost of $14.3 million per Q1 2014. The convertible loan matures 30 September 2014 and has no principal amortization. Interest on the convertible loan is paid annually. No interest was paid during Q1 2014 in relation to the convertible loan. * The lease of Hawk Explorer is recognized in the books as a finance lease at $8.3 million per Q1 2014. Installments of $1.0 million against the Hawk lease principal and $0.3 million against the interest portion were paid during Q1 2014 ($0.9 million and $0.4 million in Q1 2013, respectively). During the third quarter 2013, the company announced that it will exercise its option under the current charter agreement to purchase the vessel and related equipment for $6.5 million. The vessel and equipment will be delivered at the end of the lease term 31 August 2014 against settlement of the purchase price. Management is currently reviewing possible refinancing alternatives open to the company. Net interest-bearing debt was $83.5 million at the end of Q1 2014 ($85.9 million). Accrued interest for Q1 2014 was $1.4 million ($1.4 million). The company was in compliance with all covenants as of 31 March 2014. The Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer SeaBird Exploration Plc5 May 2014 The first quarter 2014 presentation will be transmitted live at http://www.sbexp.com/investor-relations.aspx. This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act. Q1-14 Report: http://hugin.info/136336/R/1782669/610275.pdf Q1-14 Presentation: http://hugin.info/136336/R/1782669/610277.pdf This announcement is distributed by GlobeNewswire on behalf of GlobeNewswire clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that: (i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and (ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein. Source: SeaBird Exploration Plc via GlobeNewswire [HUG#1782669]


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