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Noble Corporation plc (NE) today reported a fourth quarter 2014 loss from continuing operations of $595 million, or $2.38 per diluted share. Results for the quarter included an after-tax charge of $713 million, or $2.86 per diluted share, relating to the impairment of three rigs and the Company’s total goodwill balance. The Company has decided it will no longer market the semisubmersibles Noble Paul Wolff, Noble Driller and Noble Jim Thompsonand plans to retire these three units. Excluding the fourth quarter after-tax impairment charge, net income from continuing operations would have been $119 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, compared to $147 million, or $0.57 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2013, net income from continuing operations was $144 million, or $0.56 per diluted share. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2014 were $805 million compared to $829 million in the third quarter of 2014 and $725 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. On August 1, 2014, Noble Corporation plc completed the spin-off of Paragon Offshore (PGN). The results of Paragon Offshore and incremental spin-off related costs up to the spin-off date are classified as discontinued operations for the periods reported.

Net loss from continuing operations for the full year 2014 totaled $152 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, on revenues of $3.2 billion. Adjusted for the fourth quarter 2014 impairment charge, net income from continuing operations would have been $561 million, or $2.18 per diluted share, compared to $479 million, or $1.86 per diluted share, on revenues of $2.5 billion for the full year 2013.

David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation plc noted, “Rapidly declining crude oil prices during the fourth quarter further aggravated the offshore supply imbalance and contributed to an increasingly difficult environment for securing new contract commitments from our customers. Our financial performance in the quarter included an increase in idle time on several rigs, lower average daily revenues and margin contraction.

“Despite the decline in market visibility and the difficulty in predicting client spending behavior during a period of falling commodity prices, Noble remains well-positioned in 2015. We completed some timely transformative steps, including a well-contracted newbuild program that has driven a decided shift to a premium fleet mix. Since 2011, we have added to date eight ultra-deepwater drillships and six high-specification jackups, with a final newbuild jackup addition expected in 2016. Our decision to retire and recognize a non-cash charge with respect to three of our semisubmersibles in the quarter was based on revised assumptions on each rig’s future marketability in light of their age, technical features, and capital requirements in the context of the future supply of competitive rigs. These rig retirements will reduce the average age of a fleet whose concentration of premium assets is already among the industry’s highest. We will continue to evaluate the fleet in 2015 as we work to opportunistically position the Company ahead of the next cyclical upturn.”

With respect to the Company’s decision to retire the Noble Jim Thompson, Noble and its customer have agreed to substitute the semisubmersible Noble Paul Romano to execute the previously announced contract award covering four wells, or a primary term of up to one year in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Noble Paul Romano will mobilize from its current location in the Canary Islands and is expected to commence operations on or around September 1, 2015, following a period to complete contract preparations. The dayrate for the primary term of the contract will remain $300,000.

Contract drilling services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2014 declined 3 percent to $788 million compared to $810 million in the third quarter. Fewer operating days were experienced on several rigs in the fleet as lower rig demand from customers persisted, resulting in a decline in average fleet utilization in the fourth quarter to 82 percent compared to 85 percent in the third quarter. Also, average daily revenues in the fourth quarter declined to $330,700 from $346,700 in the third quarter, as several rigs, particularly in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region, experienced lower contract dayrates. The decline in contract drilling services revenues was partially offset in the quarter by improved activity in the Company’s ultra-deepwater fleet, including the commencement of operations on the newbuild drillship Noble Tom Madden, a full quarter of operations on the drillship Noble Sam Croftand improved operating performance on the semisubmersible Noble Amos Runner and the drillshipNoble Globetrotter I. Contract drilling services operating costs increased modestly in the fourth quarter to $391 million compared to $386 million in the third quarter. The increase was driven primarily by costs associated with the addition of new rigs and initial crewing expenses for the high-specification jackup rig Noble Tom Prosser. The higher costs were partially offset by reduced operating costs on several rigs idled by the decline in industry activity. Contract drilling services operating margin declined to 50 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 52 percent in the third quarter.

The Company recorded net cash from operating activities of $390 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, resulting in net cash from operating activities for the full year 2014 of $1.8 billion.    Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter totaled $325 million, including $149 million related to the Company’s newbuild program, which included the delivery of the final JU3000 high-specification jackup rig, the Noble Sam Hartley. Capital expenditures, for the full year 2014, excluding expenditures related to Paragon Offshore prior to the August 1, 2014 spin-off, totaled $1.9 billion. As of December 31, 2014, approximately $540 million in newbuild capital expenditures remain, largely relating to the last of the Company’s current projects, the ultra high-specification jackup rig Noble Lloyd Noble, with an expected delivery in mid-2016.

Total debt at December 31, 2014 was $4.9 billion, resulting in debt as a percentage of total capitalization of 40 percent, which compared to 37 percent at September 30, 2014. The increase in the ratio was due primarily to a decline in the Company’s equity balance as a result of the $745 million (pre-tax) impairment charge and additional borrowings in the fourth quarter on the Company’s revolving credit facilities to meet capital commitments.  Liquidity, defined as cash and cash equivalents plus availability under revolving credit facilities, was $1.8 billion at December 31, 2014 compared to $2.0 billion at September 30, 2014.

During January 2015, Noble replaced its previous revolving credit facilities with two new revolving credit facilities that will provide the Company with a significant level of revolver capacity.  The new facilities consist of a $2.4 billion five-year revolving credit facility and a one-year revolver with $225 million of capacity.  These new facilities reflect the Company’s commitment to ensuring liquidity in this phase of the market cycle.

The Company also stated that it had decided to defer indefinitely the development of a master limited partnership (MLP), citing the structure’s diminished appeal resulting from the decline in offshore market fundamentals.

In the fourth quarter, the Company exhausted its previous share repurchase authorization following the purchase of approximately 4.8 million of its ordinary shares at an average price per share of $21.13, reducing the number of shares outstanding and trading at December 31, 2014 to 247.5 million. In addition, on December 22, 2014, Noble shareholders approved an authorization for the repurchase of up to an additional 37 million shares, or approximately 15 percent of the Company’s ordinary shares outstanding. The Company repurchased $100 million of its ordinary shares at an average price of $16.10 per share as of January 31, 2015 under the new authority granted by shareholders.

Operating Highlights

The Company’s total contract backlog at December 31, 2014 was an estimated $10.1 billion compared to $10.6 billion at September 30, 2014.  Backlog depletion was partially offset by new contracts in the quarter that added approximately $342 million due significantly to three-year contract extensions on the Middle East-based jackups Noble Gene House and Noble Joe Beall at dayrates of $143,000 each.

Utilization of the Company’s floating rig fleet (semisubmersibles and drillships) declined to 78 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 80 percent in the third quarter. Lower activity was experienced on several rigs, including the Noble Max Smith, Noble Paul Romano and Noble Danny Adkins, all of which completed contracts during the third quarter or prior to the conclusion of the fourth quarter. The lower activity was partially offset by the addition of the newbuild drillship Noble Tom Madden, which commenced its initial contract 28 days ahead of schedule, a full quarter of operations on theNoble Sam Croft and improved performance on the Noble Amos Runner, following the completion of a shipyard program, and the Noble Globetrotter I, which incurred downtime in the third quarter to complete repairs and maintenance. Average daily revenues declined to $435,000 in the fourth quarter from $459,500 in the third quarter due primarily to dayrate reductions on several rigs operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, partially offset by the addition of the Noble Tom Madden.

Utilization of the Company’s jackup rig fleet was 90 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 91 percent in the third quarter. Lower operating days on the Noble Mick O’Brien, following the completion of a contract in the Middle East, were substantially offset by a full quarter of operations on the Noble Sam Turner and the return of the Noble David Tinsley following a period of inactivity. The Sam Turner and David Tinsley were largely responsible for the improvement in average daily revenues in the fourth quarter to $184,500 from $182,100 during the third quarter.

At December 31, 2014, 81 percent of the Company’s available rig operating days were committed for 2015, including 80 percent of floating rig days and 82 percent of jackup rig days. For 2016, an estimated 52 percent of available rig operating days are committed, consisting of 58 percent and 46 percent of floating and jackup rig days, respectively.

Outlook

Williams closed by stating, “We face this period of market uncertainty with 81 percent of our fleet operating days under contract in 2015 and a $10.1 billion backlog that is expected to provide almost $3.0 billion in gross revenues over the year. We possess a sound balance sheet and ample liquidity and we will continue to focus on capital discipline and preservation of liquidity through the cycle. Finally, an opportune and significant decline in capital expenditures compared to levels experienced over the past three years is expected to allow for positive free cash flow in 2015, providing the Company attractive financial flexibility during a period of increased market uncertainty.”

About Noble Corporation

Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. The Company owns and operates one of the most modern, versatile and technically advanced fleets in the offshore drilling industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 32 offshore drilling units, consisting of 17 semisubmersibles and drillships and 15 jackups, focused largely on ultra-deepwater and high-specification jackup drilling opportunities in both established and emerging regions worldwide. Noble is a public limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 08354954 and registered office at Devonshire House, 1 Mayfair Place, London, W1J 8AJ England. Additional information on Noble is available at www.noblecorp.com

Forward-looking Disclosure Statement

Statements regarding contract backlog, future earnings, costs, revenue, rig demand, fleet condition or operational or financial performance, shareholder value, timing of delivery of newbuilds, contract commitments, dayrates, contract commencements, contract extensions or renewals, letters of intent or award, industry fundamentals, customer relationships and requirements, strategic initiatives, future performance, growth opportunities, the development of a master limited partnership, market outlook, capital allocation strategies, competitive position, capital expenditures, financial flexibility, share repurchases, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to operating hazards and delays, risks associated with operations outside of the U.S., actions by regulatory authorities, customers and other third parties, legislation and regulations affecting drilling operations, compliance with regulatory requirements, factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting the duration of contracts, delays in the construction of newbuilds, the actual amount of downtime, factors that reduce applicable dayrates, violations of anti-corruption laws, hurricanes and other weather conditions, market conditions, the future price of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company’s most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q’s and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

A description of all non-GAAP financial measures used in this press release and a reconciliation to the most comparative GAAP measure is set forth on the company’s website at www.noblecorp.comin the Investor Relations section.

Conference Call

Noble has scheduled a conference call and webcast related to its fourth quarter and full year 2014 results on Thursday, February 5, 2015, at 8:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time. Interested parties are invited to listen to the call by dialing 1-866-461-7129, or internationally 1-706-679-3084, using access code: 61256274, or by asking for the Noble Corporation conference call. Interested parties may also listen over the Internet through a link posted in the Investor Relations section of the Company’s Web site.

A replay of the conference call will be available on Thursday, February 5, 2015, beginning at 11:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, through Thursday, March  5, 2015, ending at 11:00 p.m. U.S. Central Standard Time. The phone number for the conference call replay is 1-855-859-2056 or, for calls from outside of the U.S., 1-404-537-3406, using access code: 61256274.  The replay will also be available on the Company’s Web site following the end of the live call.

 NOBLE CORPORATION PLC AND SUBSIDIARIES 

 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME 

 (In thousands, except per share amounts) 

 (Unaudited) 

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

December 31, 

December 31,

2014

2013

2014

2013

 Operating revenues 

 Contract drilling services 

$  787,654

$ 704,118

$ 3,147,859

$ 2,454,745

 Reimbursables 

17,086

20,876

84,644

66,292

 Labor contract drilling services 

95

17,095

 Other 

1

11

804,740

725,089

3,232,504

2,538,143

 Operating costs and expenses 

 Contract drilling services 

391,056

331,939

1,500,512

1,168,764

 Reimbursables 

13,501

13,724

66,378

50,410

 Labor contract drilling services 

635

11,601

 Depreciation and amortization 

167,167

141,111

627,473

511,513

 General and administrative 

29,452

31,801

106,771

117,997

 Loss on impairment 

745,428

745,428

3,585

 Gain on disposal of assets, net 

(35,646)

 Gain on contract settlements/extinguishments, net 

(30,618)

1,346,604

519,210

3,046,562

1,797,606

 Operating income (loss) 

(541,864)

205,879

185,942

740,537

 Other income (expense) 

 Interest expense, net of amount capitalized 

(40,685)

(31,185)

(155,179)

(106,300)

 Interest income and other, net 

(1,429)

1,953

(1,298)

4,184

 Income (loss) before income taxes 

(583,978)

176,647

29,465

638,421

 Income tax benefit (provision) 

3,974

(17,776)

(106,651)

(92,117)

Net income (loss) from continuing operations

(580,004)

158,871

(77,186)

546,304

Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax

(15,030)

30,037

160,502

304,102

 Net income (loss) 

(595,034)

188,908

83,316

850,406

 Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 

(14,535)

(14,848)

(74,825)

(67,709)

 Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation 

$ (609,569)

$ 174,060

$        8,491

$    782,697

 Per share data: 

 Basic 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

$       (2.38)

$       0.56

$        (0.60)

$          1.86

Income (loss) from discontinued operations

(0.06)

0.12

0.63

1.19

Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation

$       (2.44)

$       0.68

$          0.03

$          3.05

 Diluted 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

$       (2.38)

$       0.56

$        (0.60)

$          1.86

Income (loss) from discontinued operations

(0.06)

0.12

0.63

1.19

Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation

$       (2.44)

$       0.68

$          0.03

$          3.05

 

 

 NOBLE CORPORATION PLC AND SUBSIDIARIES 

 CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS 

 (In thousands) 

 (Unaudited) 

 December 31, 

 December 31, 

2014

2013

 ASSETS 

 Current assets 

 Cash and cash equivalents 

$                68,510

$              114,458

 Accounts receivable 

569,096

949,069

 Prepaid expenses and other current assets 

290,956

327,408

 Total current assets 

928,562

1,390,935

 Property and equipment, at cost 

14,442,922

19,198,767

 Accumulated depreciation 

(2,330,413)

(4,640,677)

 Property and equipment, net 

12,112,509

14,558,090

 Other assets 

245,751

268,932

 Total assets 

$         13,286,822

$         16,217,957

 LIABILITIES AND  EQUITY 

 Current liabilities 

 Accounts payable 

$              265,389

$              347,214

 Accrued payroll and related costs 

102,520

151,161

 Dividends payable 

128,249

 Other current liabilities 

300,765

425,291

 Total current liabilities 

668,674

1,051,915

 Long-term debt 

4,869,020

5,556,251

 Deferred income taxes 

120,589

225,455

 Other liabilities 

341,505

334,308

 Total liabilities 

5,999,788

7,167,929

 Commitments and contingencies 

 Equity 

 Total shareholders’ equity 

6,564,730

8,322,583

 Noncontrolling interests 

722,304

727,445

 Total equity 

7,287,034

9,050,028

 Total liabilities and equity 

$         13,286,822

$         16,217,957

 

 

 NOBLE CORPORATION PLC AND SUBSIDIARIES 

 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS 

 (In thousands) 

 (Unaudited) 

Twelve Months Ended

December 31,

2014

2013

 Cash flows from operating activities 

 Net income 

$     83,316

$   850,406

 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash from operating activities: 

 Depreciation and amortization 

863,547

879,422

 Loss on impairment 

745,428

43,688

 Gain on disposal of assets, net 

(35,646)

      Other changes in operating activities (1)

85,917

(35,553)

 Net cash from operating activities 

1,778,208

1,702,317

 Cash flows from investing activities 

 New construction 

(1,353,555)

(1,526,523)

 Other capital expenditures 

(672,235)

(845,903)

 Capitalized interest 

(47,095)

(115,094)

 Proceeds from disposal of assets 

61,000

 Other investing activities 

(36,383)

(58,587)

 Net cash from investing activities 

(2,109,268)

(2,485,107)

 Cash flows from financing activities 

 Net change in borrowings outstanding on bank credit facilities 

(437,647)

1,221,333

 Dividend payments 

(386,579)

(194,913)

 Dividends paid to noncontrolling interests 

(79,966)

(105,388)

 Repurchases of shares 

(154,145)

 Repayment of long-term debt 

(250,000)

(300,000)

 Long-term borrowings of Paragon Offshore 

1,710,550

 Financing costs on long-term borrowings of Paragon Offshore 

(14,676)

 Cash balances of Paragon Offshore in spin-off 

(104,152)

 Other financing activities 

1,727

(5,876)

 Net cash from financing activities 

285,112

615,156

 Net change in cash and cash equivalents 

(45,948)

(167,634)

 Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 

114,458

282,092

 Cash and cash equivalents, end of period 

$     68,510

$   114,458

 

(1) Other changes in operating activities for 2014 includes the effect of net assets of Paragon Offshore that were distributed to shareholders.

 

 

 NOBLE CORPORATION PLC AND SUBSIDIARIES 

 FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL INFORMATION BY SEGMENT 

 (In thousands, except operating statistics) 

 (Unaudited) 

Three Months Ended December 31,

Three Months Ended September 30,

2014

2013

2014

Contract

Contract

Contract

Drilling

Drilling

Drilling

Services

Other

Total

Services

Other

Total

Services

Other

Total

 Operating revenues 

 Contract drilling services 

$  787,654

$          –

$  787,654

$ 704,118

$          –

$ 704,118

$ 810,200

$          –

$ 810,200

 Reimbursables 

17,086

17,086

19,892

984

20,876

18,514

81

18,595

 Labor contract drilling services 

95

95

 Other 

1

1

804,740

804,740

724,010

1,079

725,089

828,715

81

828,796

 Operating costs and expenses 

 Contract drilling services 

391,056

391,056

331,939

331,939

385,674

385,674

 Reimbursables 

13,501

13,501

13,477

247

13,724

12,979

662

13,641

 Labor contract drilling services 

635

635

 Depreciation and amortization 

162,165

5,002

167,167

137,898

3,213

141,111

156,213

5,033

161,246

 General and administrative 

29,452

29,452

31,661

140

31,801

24,552

50

24,602

 Loss on impairment 

745,428

745,428

1,341,602

5,002

1,346,604

514,975

4,235

519,210

579,418

5,745

585,163

 Operating income (loss) 

$ (536,862)

$ (5,002)

$ (541,864)

$ 209,035

$ (3,156)

$ 205,879

$ 249,297

$ (5,664)

$ 243,633

 Operating statistics 

 Jackups: 

 Average Rig Utilization 

90%

82%

91%

 Operating Days 

991

635

951

 Average Dayrate 

$  184,482

$ 154,432

$ 182,128

 Semisubmersibles: 

 Average Rig Utilization 

61%

88%

67%

 Operating Days 

614

892

674

 Average Dayrate 

$  352,515

$ 428,919

$ 435,782

 Drillships: 

 Average Rig Utilization 

100%

100%

100%

 Operating Days 

777

565

712

 Average Dayrate 

$  500,187

$ 395,473

$ 482,053

 Submersibles: 

 Average Rig Utilization 

N/A

0%

N/A

 Operating Days 

N/A

N/A

 Average Dayrate 

N/A

$             –

N/A

 Total: 

 Average Rig Utilization 

82%

83%

85%

 Operating Days 

2,382

2,092

2,337

 Average Dayrate 

$  330,739

$ 336,545

$ 346,699

 

 

 NOBLE CORPORATION PLC AND SUBSIDIARIES 

 CALCULATION OF BASIC AND DILUTED NET INCOME (LOSS) PER SHARE 

 (In thousands, except per share amounts) 

 (Unaudited) 

 The following table sets forth the computation of basic and diluted net income (loss) per share: 

 Three months ended 

 Twelve months ended 

 December 31, 

 December 31,  

2014

2013

2014

2013

 Numerator:  

 Basic 

 Income (loss) from continuing operations 

$ (594,539)

$ 144,023

$ (152,011)

$ 478,595

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(1,719)

(5,669)

 Income (loss) from continuing operations to common shareholders 

$ (594,539)

$ 142,304

$ (152,011)

$ 472,926

 Income (loss) from discontinued operations 

$   (15,030)

$   30,037

$  160,502

$ 304,102

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(358)

(3,602)

 Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax to common shareholders 

$   (15,030)

$   29,679

$  160,502

$ 300,500

 Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation 

$ (609,569)

$ 174,060

$      8,491

$ 782,697

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(2,077)

(9,271)

 Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation to common shareholders 

$ (609,569)

$ 171,983

$      8,491

$ 773,426

 Diluted 

 Income (loss) from continuing operations 

$ (594,539)

$ 144,023

$ (152,011)

$ 478,595

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(1,717)

(5,663)

 Income (loss) from continuing operations to common shareholders 

$ (594,539)

$ 142,306

$ (152,011)

$ 472,932

 Income (loss) from discontinued operations 

$   (15,030)

$   30,037

$  160,502

$ 304,102

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(358)

(3,598)

 Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax to common shareholders 

$   (15,030)

$   29,679

$  160,502

$ 300,504

 Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation 

$ (609,569)

$ 174,060

$      8,491

$ 782,697

 Earnings allocated to unvested share-based payment awards 

(2,075)

(9,261)

 Net income (loss) attributable to Noble Corporation to common shareholders 

$ (609,569)

$ 171,985

$      8,491

$ 773,436

 Denominator: 

 Weighted average shares outstanding – basic 

249,650

253,423

252,909

253,288

 Incremental shares issuable from assumed exercise of stock options 

238

259

 Weighted average shares outstanding – diluted 

249,650

253,661

252,909

253,547

 Weighted average unvested share-based payment awards 

3,061

3,036

 Earnings per share  

 Basic 

 Continuing operations 

$       (2.38)

$       0.56

$       (0.60)

$       1.86

 Discontinued operations 

(0.06)

0.12

0.63

1.19

 Net income attributable to Noble Corporation 

$       (2.44)

$       0.68

$         0.03

$       3.05

 Diluted 

 Continuing operations 

$       (2.38)

$       0.56

$       (0.60)

$       1.86

 Discontinued operations 

(0.06)

0.12

0.63

1.19

 Net income attributable to Noble Corporation 

$       (2.44)

$       0.68

$         0.03

$       3.05