Let’s begin by searching for a company that sports a share price that has risen by more than 800% during the past three calendar years — compared with 18% for the New York Stock Exchange. It must also be the recipient of across-the-board strong buy ratings from all of the analysts who follow it. There is, in fact, such a company: Houston-based Flotek Industries Inc (NYSE:FTK) , which reported its results for the final quarter of 2012 on Thursday.
For the quarter, Flotek posted per-share earnings of $0.44, significantly higher than both the $0.02 for the comparable quarter a year earlier and the $0.17 consensus expectation. Revenues for the final quarter of 2012 were $76.7 million, up 2.4% year over year from $74.9 million.
Since a look at the company’s full year appears to be warranted, especially amid vacillations in the North American drilling market, it’s worth noting that after items for the 2012 year, Flotek earned $37.9 million, or $0.71 per share, compared with $20.2 million, or $0.42 per share in 2011. Full-year gross margins were 42.1%, versus 40.9% for 2011.
Lifting the hood on Flotek
Flotek Industries Inc (NYSE:FTK) operates through three segments: its chemical and logistics division, its drilling products division, and its artificial lift unit. As Flotek Industries Inc (NYSE:FTK) CFO H. Richard Walton noted during the company’s post-release call, the chemicals and logistics unit and the drilling products division drove most of the growth in the quarter. He further said, “In those segments, revenue growth was a result of improved pricing and improved marketing efforts, which resulted in increased market share.”
The chemicals unit benefited from a sizable reduction in raw-materials costs and the effects of capital projects at the Marlow, Okla., chemical production facility. At the same time, given the importance of research in the chemicals unit, Flotek increased the scope of its research facility in The Woodlands, Texas, by 30% during the most recent year.
In the drilling products segment, rig count reductions in North America during the second half of 2012 were offset by a higher market share and increased work from existing customers. At the same time, continued increases in revenues from the company’s Teledrift measurement-while-drilling products and its Cavo motors operation offset the reduced drilling activity.
The artificial lift operation progressed during the year from a gas-centric emphasis toward an increased attention to liquids. Further, the Galleon manufacturing group, which produces drilling tools for base and precious metals mining, turned in a record year, including an expansion of its backlog for core mining tools.
If you’re an oilfield services aficionado, you recognize that, at least for now, international operations are of supreme significance for the sector. As such, its important to note that, also on Thursday, Flotek Industries Inc (NYSE:FTK) announced an agreement with Gulf Energy, an oil and gas concern based in Oman, involving the construction of an advanced oilfield chemistry production facility and the creation of a state-of-the-art research organization. These facilities will address expanding needs in both the Middle East and North Africa.
Under the terms of the agreement, Flotek Industries Inc (NYSE:FTK) will own 60% stakes in a pair of Omani-registered limited liability companies. But Oman is hardly the company’s only expanding international venue. As Steven Reeves, the company’s executive vice president of operations, noted on the company’s call: “We are making meaningful commercial progress in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. We expect to discuss additional opportunities in those regions throughout the year.”
Far better balance
Beyond purely operating considerations, Flotek has materially strengthened its balance sheet. Before the close of 2012, it repurchased approximately $50 million in outstanding convertible notes. That step was followed by the repurchase in mid-February of the remaining $5.2 million of its outstanding convertible notes.