Falling rig counts and pricing pressures caused 2012 to be a challenging year for the oil-field services industry. FMC Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:FTI) wasn't immune from these challenges and that caused the company's stock to slide just over 10% in the past year. Looking ahead to 2013 the company is facing even deeper competitive challenges with new entrants into its core markets. However, I still think FMC Technologies is one that investors should watch.
Drilling deeper FMC Technologies is a global leader in subsea processing with a near 50% share of the market. It's a market that's getting a bit more crowded as NO. 2 player Cameron International Corporation (NYSE:CAM) is teaming up with Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB) in a joint venture. The venture, OneSubsea, is seeded with Cameron's existing subsea division, as well as several related businesses from Schlumberger along with $600 million in cash. The new venture leverages Cameron's flow control expertise with Schlumberger's broad technology and scientific platforms.
The energy industry is increasing its focus on the opportunities in deepwater. A significant rise in investments focused on new discoveries has led to a significant rise in production. This growth is important to FMC Technologies, as its subsea technologies business represents about two-thirds its revenue. While OneSubsea is just getting off the ground, it does pose a meaningful threat to FMC Technologies' ability to grow in the future. It's important to watch to see if the venture begins to steal customers and market share. If that begins to happen, it might be time to turn away.
Coming up for air Another area investors need to watch is the company's surface technologies business. At about a quarter of its revenue, surface technologies represents another important platform for FMC Technologies to grow. Lately, that business has been affected by the weakness in North America; however, that weakness according to Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) has bottomed as of the fourth quarter.
That recovery will be important for FMC Technologies' future growth plans in the market. It wants to pursue new platforms along the fracking cycle and has several offerings on the market with more in the pipeline. Unfortunately, it's not the only one. Top oil-field-equipment maker National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) offers such a vast array of products to the industry that it really stands alone at the top. In order to better compete, FMC Technologies has been bulking up by buying up smaller competitors.
Its most recent buy, Pure Energy Services, which is a provider of fracking flowback and wireline services, is another important piece in growing its shale-related business. Continued smart investments to both buy and build for future growth in this segment will be important in fending off equipment makers like National Oilwell Varco, as well as integrated service providers like Halliburton.