News Column

Hunting Says First-Half Trading Buoyed By Strong Second Quarter

August 28, 2014

Alice Attwood

LONDON (Alliance News) - Hunting PLC said Thursday that stronger trading in its second quarter boosted its first-half and that activity returned to management-anticipated levels with pretax profit and revenue up after adverse weather hit its first quarter, as the company upped its interim dividend.

In its half-year results for the six months to June 30, 2014, the international energy services group said pretax profit rose 15% to USD69.1 million from the USD60.0 million reported last year.

Revenue was also higher, up 4.8% to USD687.5 million from USD655.7 million in the comparable period.

The company said its half-year results were buoyed by a strong performance in its second quarter after the first quarter was hit by severe weather across North America, with activity returning to levels which management anticipated at the beginning of the year as its Titan and Subsea business report revenue and profit growth and "good trading momentum" was seen across its divisions.

First-half revenue in the Hunting Energy Services division was USD27.1 million ahead of the comparative period at USD658.6 million compared to USD631.5 million last year with strong performances in Well Completion, reporting revenue of USD410.7 million, up from USD388.0 million last year and Well Intervention revenue coming in at USD65.7 million, up from USD51.4 million last year, offsetting a weaker performance in Well Construction which recorded revenue of USD182.2 million, compared to USD192.1 million in 2013, said Hunting.

Gibson Shipbrokers' performance also improved with revenue at USD23.4 million from USD19.9 million the previous year.

The FTSE 250-listed company boosted its interim dividend by 5.2% to 8.1 US cents from the 7.7 US cents paid in 2013.

Dennis Proctor, CEO of Hunting said that the management team "remains comfortable that Hunting's performance, for the year as whole, remains in line with its expectations."

The company said activity levels from the second quarter onwards are likely to compensate for trading in the slower first-quarter.

"Our capital investment programme is continuing on track, with new facilities being commissioned from Q4 2014 and into 2015. This investment will expand our capabilities both in established operational regions and in new geographic territories," added Proctor.

During the year the company began a USD36.4 million expansion programme at its US manufacturing facility at Houma, Louisiana, with completion targeted for the first quarter of 2015. Hunting also invested USD54.0 million in a new threading and test facility in Houston, Texas, also expected to complete in 2015.

Looking ahead Hunting said that the outlook for the business "remains positive with industry investment continuing to grow as reserve depletion rates are only partially offset by new production additions and increases in technology utilisation and efficiency."

Hunting shares were trading 0.34% higher Thursday morning at 897.50 pence per share.

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Source: Alliance News

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