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Noble Corporation: Commentary On The 2nd-Quarter Results And July 16 Fleet Status

  • Noble released its second-quarter results Friday. Strong quarter with total revenues of $793.6 million, down 1.2%, quarter over quarter. Net income of $159.03 million and EPS of 0.64.
  • Noble is indicating a new 2015 guidance and expects FCF positive for 2015. Backlog is now $8.7 billion.
  • NE is one of the best top-tier offshore drillers. I recommend a BUY.

Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE)

This article is an update of my preceding article published on May 3, 2015. Fleet Status And 1st-Quarter 2015 Results.

Complete Fleet Analysis and Fleet Status as of July 16, 2015

#Name

Year

Built

Upgraded

Spec.

K feet

Contract

End

Current

Day rate

K$

Location
1Noble Bob Douglas201310/402/17

641

Dayrate includes mob. fee

[Anadarko]

GOM

2Noble Bully I20118.2/403/17496

[Shell] GOM

0-rate 4Q'15(45d)

1Y priced option

3 x 1Y option unpriced

3Noble Bully II20118.25/40

4/22

in Transit

456

[Shell]

Argentina

Location pending

4

Noble Discoverer

Location: Everett Seattle, Washington

1976/2007

Gen 4

0.1/20

(12/16)

Shipyard in Seattle

369

[Shell]

Chukchi sea

Alaska

5Noble Don Taylor201310/402/19498

[Shell]

US GOM

15% bonus eligible

6Noble Globetrotter I201110/407/22457 (For 1st 5 years)

[Shell]

US GOM 15% bonus eligible

7Noble Globetrotter II201310/40

9/23

461 (Fixed for first 5 years)

[Shell]

Black Sea/Turkey

15% bonus eligible

8Noble Sam Croft201410/40

7/17

642 Started 11/21/14

Dayrate include mob. fee

[Freeport-McMoRoran]

US GOM

9Noble Tom Madden201410/40

11/17

635

Dayrate include mob. fee

[Freeport-McRoran]

US GOM

2. Class: Semi-Submersibles

#Name

Year

Built/upgraded

Spec.

K feet

Contract

End

Current

Day rate

$ k

Location
1Noble Amos Runner1982/19998/32.511/15453

[LLOG]

US GOM

Full operation since 11/14

2Noble Clyde Boudreaux1987/200710/35

11/15

515

[Shell] Australia

17% bonus eligible

3Noble Dany Adkins

1989

1999/2009

8/32.5

Late 8/15

Undisclosed

[DGE]

US GOM

0-rate (45 d) 3Q'15 I&M

4Noble Dave Beard1986/200810/354/16235

[Petrobas]

Brazil

15% bonus eligible

5Noble Homer Ferrington1985/20047.2/25Cold stackedItaly
6Noble Jim Day

1989/

1999/2010

12/371/16543

[Shell]

US GOM

15% bonus eligible

7Noble Max Smith1980/19997/25

Available

-Singapore
8Noble Paul Romano1981/19986/25

Shipyard Late 8/15

9/15-9/16

-

300

[Hess]

USGOM

3. Class: Semi-Submersibles Retired

1Noble Driller1976/2007retiredUS GOM
2Noble Jim Thompson1984/1999retired

US GOM

3Noble Paul Wolff

1981/

1999/2006

retired

Asia

4. Class: Jack-Ups

#Name

Year Built

+ upgrades

Spec.

Feet/K feet

Contract

End

Current

Day rate

Location
1Noble Alan Hay1980/2005300/25

8/15

8/15-12/15

12/15-12/17

97

85

85

Arabian Gulf

0-rate 1Q'16(15d)

2Noble Charles Copeland1979/2001280/209/15

65

[Aramco] Arabian Gulf

3Noble LLoyd Noble2Q'2016492/32

2Q'16

3Q'16-3Q'20

Transit

447

[Statoil] UKNS
4Noble David Tinsley

1981/

2004/2010

300/25

8/15

8/15-12/15

12/15-12/17

97

85

85

Arabian Gulf

0-rate 4Q'15(15d)

5Noble Gene House1981/1998300/25

1/16

1/16-11/18

65

143

[Aramco] Arabian Gulf
6Noble Hans Deul2009400/30

8/16

235

[Shell]

UK North Sea

7Noble Houston Colbert2014400/35

4/16

280

[Total] Argentina

2-months priced option

8Noble Joe Beall1981/2004300/25

1/16

1/16-11/18

81

143

[Aramco] Arabian Gulf

9Noble Mick O'Brien2013400/35

Shipyard

(3/16-8/16) to (4/17-9/17)

Available

150

UAE

NE can substitute another rig.

10Noble Regina Allen2013400/359/15233 155[GDF Suez] Netherlands
11Noble Roger Lewis2007400/30

1/16

1/16-3/17

169

257

[Aramco] Arabian Gulf

0-rate 3Q'15(30d)

12Noble Sam Hartley2014400/35

mid 8/15

Available

Improving Technical SpecificationsTBA
13Noble Sam Turner2014400/35

8/16

217

[Maersk]

Denmark

14Noble Scott Marks2009400/30

1/16

1/16-7/17

169

257

[Aramco] Arabian Gulf
15Noble Tom Prosser2014400/35

3Q'15 Testing

9/15-3/17

-

203

[Apache] Australia

Noble Fleet Snapshot

TotalDrill-shipsSemi-submersiblesJack-ups
Noble Corp.329815
Cold-stacked - Idle - New not contracted5032
Fleet age average in year-3255

M. Simon Johnson, Senior Vice President-Marketing and Contracts, said in the conference call:

Our strong contract cover remains in place and is a key factor in our ability to manage through the cyclical weakness. We ended the second quarter with a backlog of $8.7 billion, of which $6.8 billion was associated with our floating rigs and $1.9 billion with our jackup fleet. As of June 30, we have some 79% of the available rig operating days committed to contracts. In 2016, 63% of the rig operating days are committed to contracts.

Q2 2015Q1 2015Q4 2014Q3 2014
Total Revenues in $ Million793.6803.4804.7829
Net Income $ Million159.0178.4119147
After-tax Impairment charge--7130
Earnings per share in $0.640.720.470.57
EPS including impairment charge0.640.72(2.38)0.57
Shares Outstanding basic in Million241.966242.685249.650-
Dividend per Quarter/share0.3750.3750.375-
Cash and Cash equivalent in $ Million247.782.2068.51-
Liquidity: cash + revolving $ billion2.92.71.8
Capital expenditure $ Million8189--
Long-term Debt $ Billion4.5894.864.87-
Debt to capital ratio40%40%40%37%
Total liabilities $ billion585.73585.42
Enterprise Value $ Billion7.758.69
EBITDA $ Million TTM1.501.56
EV/EBITDA5.165.57

Note 1: NE bought back 6.2 million shares in January 2015 at $16.10 reducing shares outstanding to 242.7 million. A new program has been approved in 2015 for a total of 27 million shares (20.8 million shares remaining.) No more shares have been purchased since then.

M. David W. Williams, CEO, said in the conference call:

Also, the company has maintained strong liquidity, which totaled approximately $2.9 billion at June 30. The $350 million of senior notes maturing in August will be repaid utilizing predominantly cash on hand, allowing us to preserve our revolving credit capacity, which remains a priority of the company.

Noble delivered another excellent quarter, and I am very pleased to be a new NE shareholder ($12), despite an unfavorable challenging market for offshore drillers.

I - The strong 3Q'15 is a result of three positive developments:

  1. Lower fleet downtime of 4% compared to the guided 7%.
  2. Contract drilling costs down to $319 million
  3. Lower effective Tax rate of 18% compared to the guided 21% to 23%

II - Noble announced also in the conference call that the 2015 guidance has been positively revised:

ItemsYear 20153Q'15 only
2015 Contract drilling costs$1.27 billion to $1.32 billion$325/$340 million
SG&A$85 million to $95 million$22 million
% expense$215 million to $225 million$55 million to $60 million
Lower CapEx$585 million
Lower sustaining CapEx$170 million
Available liquidity after repaying the $350 million senior note in August 2015$2.5 billion
Debt to cap ratio40%
NE data by YCharts

The company intends to keep the dividend of $1.50/Y or now 12.55%. However, M. David W. Williams is telling us, that it may be revised lower depending on the ongoing situation. As a new shareholder, I am appreciating the nice dividend payout, but believe it is not really the right strategy for Noble. It should use the cash to reduce debt or strengthen its cash position during these extremely challenging times.

we continue to believe that returning cash to our shareholders through a dividend of $0.375 per share per quarter is appropriate and reflects the company's strong industry position. However, given the uncertain business outlook, we will continue to monitor the situation going forward.

NE is without a doubt a BUY/accumulate from a long investor's perspective.

At last, a good comment from Simon Johnson in the conference call that summurizes the real problem faced by the offshore drillers, which is not necessarily the rig attrition.

Really, there's a need for the industry to retool. You're seeing some of that happen now. So I see it as more of a process of increasing the health level of the industry for the recovery when it comes. It's demand that's going to change things for the rig market today, and that's what we're most closely watching. The supply contribution is important, but it's demand that's overwhelmingly more important.


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