Dawson Geophysical posts fiscal 4Q loss

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 2:53 PM

Dawson Geophysical Co., which provides seismic data to oil and gas companies, on Tuesday reported a loss for its fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by lower prices and downtime due to foul weather.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company recorded a loss of $2.1 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with a profit of $9.3 million, or $1.20 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Revenue plunged 45 percent to $46.8 million from $84.4 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected a loss of 15 cents per share on revenue of $52 million. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

For the full fiscal year, Dawson said its net income fell more than 70 percent to $10.2 million, or $1.30 per share, from $35 million, or $4.53 per share. Revenue slumped 25 percent to $244 million from $324.9 million.

The weaker annual revenue resulted from previously announced reductions in crews during the second and third quarters, a more competitive pricing environment, substantially lower utilization rates of remaining crews and greater weather-related downtime in the fourth quarter, Dawson said.

In a statement, CEO and President Stephen Jumper said fiscal 2009 was difficult, particularly in the second half of the year.

The company reduced active seismic data acquisition crews from 16 to nine following the financial crisis of late last year, falling commodity prices and anemic demand as clients reduced their exploration and production activities, he said.

While overall demand is no longer falling, short-term utilization rates and pricing for services remain under pressure, Jumper said.

"Despite these challenges, we see encouraging signs as we enter fiscal 2010," he said in a statement. "Natural gas and oil prices have rebounded from their lows. In addition, many exploration and production companies are beginning to increase their capital expenditures budgets and exploration initiatives from the very low levels of fiscal 2009."

Although clients may cancel service contracts on short notice, the company's current order book reflects commitments "sufficient to maintain operation of our nine data acquisition crews into calendar 2010," Jumper said.

Shares of Dawson edged up 24 cents to $24.13 in afternoon trading.