Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Energy

Halliburton Company (HAL) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

HAL Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) Q2 2020 earnings call dated July 20, 2020

Corporate Participants:

Abu Zeya — Head of Investor Relations

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

Angeline Sedita — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

Sean Meakim — JP Morgan — Analyst

David Anderson — Barclays — Analyst

Chase Mulvehill — Bank of America/Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

Marc Bianchi — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Kurt Hallead — RBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. And welcome to Halliburton’s Second Quarter 2020 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to hand the conference over to Abu Zeya, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Abu Zeya — Head of Investor Relations

Thank you, Liz. Good morning, and welcome to the Halliburton Second Quarter 2020 Conference Call. As a reminder, today’s call is being webcast, and a replay will be available on Halliburton’s website for seven days. Joining me today are Jeff Miller, Chairman, President and CEO; and Lance Loeffler, CFO.

Some of our comments today may include forward-looking statements reflecting Halliburton’s views about future events. These matters involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to materially differ from our forward-looking statements. These risks are discussed in Halliburton’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019; Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2020; recent current reports on Form 8-K; and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings. We undertake no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason.

Our comments today also include non-GAAP financial measures that exclude the impact of impairments and other charges. Additional details and reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are included in our second quarter press release and can also be found in the Quarterly Results and Presentation section of our website. After our prepared remarks, we ask that you please limit yourself to one question and one related follow-up during the Q&A period in order to allow time for others who may be in the queue.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, thank you, Abu and good morning everyone. The second quarter of 2020 is now behind us. It was a tough one for many industries, including the oil and gas sector. The global pandemic and the resulting collapse and demand have upended many businesses, and as economies around the world emerged from lockdowns, the path forward remains uneven and uncertain. I’m grateful for our employees’ focus, dedication and perseverance during these difficult times. Employee’s safety is our top priority, and we continue our efforts to take the appropriate measures to provide a safe working environment for everyone.

COVID-19 is altering our everyday lives and business operations, and it is important that we do not let our guard down. Despite this distraction, our safety performance is the best it has ever been with our total recordable incident rate improving more than 20% since the end of last year. There are three key areas I will address on the call today. First, our solid second quarter performance demonstrating a significant reset that improves the earnings power of our business, despite the severity of the activity collapse. Second, the market and business outlook for the second half and full year of 2020. And finally, what we’re doing today to make sure that Halliburton powers into and wins the eventual recovery.

The global activity collapse in the second quarter was swift and severe, much worse than anticipated. U.S. average rig count for the quarter declined 50% sequentially, while international rigs dropped 22%, with absolute global rig count sinking to the lowest level in recent history. Halliburton’s response to the market disruption was equally swift and aggressive. As I’ll discuss in a few minutes, our organization responded with a tremendous sense of urgency.

Let me cover a few headlines related to our financial performance. Total company revenue was $3.2 billion, and adjusted operating income was $236 million. Our Completion and Production division revenue of $1.7 billion was impacted by a drop in market activity in the low teens in international markets, and about 70% in U.S. land completions. Despite these headwinds, C&P delivered a solid operating margin of 9.5% in the second quarter.

Our Drilling and Evaluation division revenue of $1.5 billion was down largely in line with lower rig count activity globally, delivering operating margin of 8.3% in the second quarter. The speed and effectiveness of the cost actions that we’ve executed help minimize the sequential decremental margins to 14% in C&P and 16% in D&E.

Revenue for North America declined 57% sequentially, with our C&P and D&E divisions outperforming the completions and drilling activity declines respectively. International revenue was down 17% sequentially, outperforming the rig count decline. And finally, we generated over $450 million in positive free cash flow in the second quarter. As reflected in these results, our aggressive cost actions are important part of our earnings power reset.

As you recall, we removed $300 million in costs over the prior two quarters. In April, we announced an additional $1 billion in annualized cost reductions. I’m pleased to report today that these actions, which are largely prominent changes to our business, are 75% done. I expect the remaining cost reductions, which are mostly aimed at our international business and real estate rationalization to be completed by the end of the third quarter.

Let’s now discuss our expectations for the second half of 2020. Internationally, we anticipate drilling activity to continue to decline modestly, while completions stay resilient into year-end. The activity changes have not been and will not be uniform across all international markets. On a full year basis, we expect activity in the OPEC countries in the Middle East and the Norwegian sector of the North Sea to be more resilient, while Latin America and Africa declined sharply.

Some customers are deferring new projects, most notably in the offshore exploration markets. Due to the deeper and longer pullback in Latin America, we now anticipate a mid-teens’ decline in international customer activity and spend for the full year. In North America land, some green shoots of completion activity are emerging, but I would not characterize this as the start of a meaningful recovery. After customers bring back shut-in production and as WTI remains range bound around $40, we expect to see a modest uptick in completions’ activity during the third quarter, followed by the usual seasonal deceleration at the end of the year.

Drilling activity declines have slowed, and we believe the rig count should find a bottom sometime in the third quarter, but a meaningful inflection point in drilling seems further out. Our full-year customer spend outlook for North America remains unchanged at approximately 50% down compared to 2019, with gassier basins outperforming the oilier ones. Further demand weakness from a slower economic recovery or multiple ways of COVID-19-related activity shutdowns present downside risks to our outlook for the remainder of the year. Though we believe positioning our company to ride out those events should they occur, it is not possible to predict the impact that they may have. Regardless, as demonstrated this quarter, I expect Halliburton to outperform the market under any conditions.

As we look into the future, I believe the international and North America markets will present opportunities for Halliburton. Although the timing of commodity price recovery remains uncertain, we are taking the necessary actions to thrive in the current market and to prepare Halliburton to win the eventual recovery. International producers have the opportunity to regain market share as a result of declining U.S. production. This should translate into healthy activity levels internationally, as oil demand recovers. International shorter-cycle barrels will likely fill a higher proportion of future incremental demand requirements.

As economic growth returns, we expect the key producing regions to maintain productive spare capacity, so they can quickly meet demand. Offshore, longer-cycle barrels and new exploration activity will likely be the farthest out in terms of incremental contribution to the supply stack.

Today, we have an excellent international business, both in terms of geographic footprint and technology portfolio. Pre-coronavirus, our international business grew revenue every quarter for almost three years, outperforming our largest competitor and was on the road to meaningful margin improvement. International regions contributed nearly half of our revenue in 2019. They’re also historically more resilient on margins, demonstrating the strength of our diverse business. Here’s how we are preparing to win the recovery internationally. We’re driving adoption and expansion of our latest technologies in the international markets. Our EarthStar logging-while-drilling tool has seen a 2.5 times increase in its adoption over the last year, even though it is one of our premium offerings.

Our Cerebro in-bit sensor package provides a high-speed look at data captured directly from the bit. Its international adoption has doubled this year compared to the first half of 2019. We successfully completed customer qualifications and are currently deploying the latest wireline tractors and ESP pumps in the Middle East. We’re growing and monetizing our digital offerings. They improve performance and efficiency and allow us to introduce new commercial models, where all parties sharing the benefits of our digital technologies. The Aker BP project in Norway is a demonstration of a customer successfully adopting digital technology to achieve best-in-class performance. We have collaborated with our alliance partners to deploy digitally-enabled new technologies and innovative ways of working.

Our contract structure where all alliance partners benefit from these successes fosters a collaborative culture and drives further performance improvement. We increased rate of penetration by 88% over the course of the well campaign, and a third of the wells we drilled on a specific prospect were in the top decile of the industry benchmark for drilling speed. We made great strides in the digital transformation of the well planning cycle, rapidly working towards the goal of planting a well in a day. We applied digital 3D inversion, helping the customer improve their reservoir understanding. This led to replanning of a whole reservoir section and potential incremental reserves for the customer.

We are also advancing alliances with key industry players, both within and outside of the oil and gas sector. We recently announced Halliburton and TechnipFMC collaborated to create Odassea, the world’s first distributed acoustic sensing solution for subsea wells. This collaboration strengthens our digital capabilities and subsea reservoir monitoring and production optimization. We recently signed a five-year strategic agreement with Microsoft and Accenture to advance Halliburton’s digital capabilities in Microsoft Azure. This is an important step, and our adoption of new technology and applications to enhance our digital capabilities and customer offerings drive additional business agility and reduce capital expenditures.

We’re also taking actions not only to thrive in the current market, but to best position our business in the future. Streamlining our cost structure is part of continuing efforts to reduce our fixed costs and improving components of our working capital through a strong focus on managing collections, deploying digital inventory planning solutions, and extending vendor payment terms. As oil demand recovers, I expect the international business will continue to be a more meaningful contributor to our revenue going forward. I believe that the actions we’re taking provide the basis for margin expansion and higher free cash flow conversion internationally in the next upcycle.

Turning to North America, we believe that North America production is likely to remain structurally lower in the foreseeable future and has slower growth going forward. The shrinking demand for shale oil and limited access to capital markets, the inevitable rationalization will continue, and we expect to see a more disciplined market with stronger operators and service companies. The activity declines and intra-year cyclicality over the last two years let us to change our approach to this market. But what has not changed is our commitment to the single largest oilfield services’ market and to our leadership position in it.

While the North American market will be structurally smaller, we believe that it will be more profitable for us. Our service delivery improvement strategy lowers our fixed and services costs and will drive higher contribution margin with the goal to make Halliburton the most competitive from a cost structure perspective. This strategy has resulted in sustainable changes to how we organize and execute everyday in the business and positions us to deliver higher profitability and free cash flow in North America.

Our playbook is clear. Returns and cash generation matter more than ever, and growth for the sake of market share is a thing of the past. We believe that our size and scale, combined with our ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions, are strong advantages for us helping to drive the unit cost down and enabling us to capture work across multiple basins and resource types. The $1.3 billion in cost cuts, a combination of the $300 million in prior cuts, and the $1 billion in further reductions are largely aimed at North America.

Let me remind you what we’ve done to reset the earnings power in this key market. We’re changing the fundamentals of how we deliver our services, and I expect this will drive a higher contribution margin and lower our fixed costs. We reduced our maintenance cost per horsepower hour by over a third compared to the 2019 run rate by redesigning our maintenance and value engineering processes. This has been scaled tested as a permanent change in how we execute our operations and is independent of the market activity levels. We’ve also made permanent reductions to our workforce. We have flattened our North America organization removing layers of management.

Also Read:  American Express Co. (AXP) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

We’re using digital and remote operations to reduce the number of frac engineers required to monitor jobs by establishing real-time operation centers and using cloud-based solutions to modernize data flow between the rig site and the back office. We’re reducing our real estate footprint by over 100 facilities, which not only removes costs, but fits with our digital and remote operations strategy. In addition to these strategic changes, we’ll continue to take advantage of our unique competitive strengths. We offer a full suite of oilfield services through 13 product service lines in North America, and we will continue to emphasize our non-frac revenue streams resulting in a more balanced business portfolio.

We continue to deliver differentiated technologies across our product lines, many of them using advances in automation and digitalization. These technologies either lower our costs or improve production results for our customers. Finally and critically, none of the improvements internationally and in North America happen without our fantastic, competitive and committed team focused on achieving all of these objectives and protecting the gains we make over time.

Turning to capital spending, 2020 will be the second year in a row that we’ve significantly reduced our capex, which will largely be directed towards our international business. Because we size our capital budget based on a committed project pipeline and anticipated returns, we believe that this year just like in 2019, this capex reduction will not hamper our ability to outperform the market. We’ll continue to exercise thoughtful capital allocation to the best returning opportunities. The capital intensity of our business has come down. And as we think about the future, we project that capex spend as a percentage of revenue will be closer to 5% to 6% versus the historical norms of 10% to 11%.

There are several reasons why we are able to drive this change and positively impact our free cash flow going forward. We now build our equipment cheaper and it lasts longer. Advances in sensing technologies and material sciences are lowering the total cost of ownership for our tools.

Design improvements, such as component modularity, make asset velocity better than ever. This means we need to build fewer tools to support the same level of business. For example, the iCruise drilling system has modular components and standardized electronic inserts for all tool sizes, allowing for 20% better asset velocity. Digitalization reduces our capital footprint. We’re removing equipment from location and replacing costly hardware with software solutions. We do not anticipate large technology recapitalization programs, similar to the build-out of our leading Q10 pumps and the iCruise drilling systems. And finally, the North America business now has structurally lower capital requirements. It’s a mature market, and frac job intensity is plateauing.

The Halliburton I’ve just described to you is charting a fundamentally different course. The growth in digital technologies, the position of strength in the international markets, the sharper approach to North America, and a lower capex profile, all of that comes from the hard work that we’ve been doing over the last few years. We are not waiting for an upcycle to drive significant free cash flow and returns for our shareholders. We believe that the strategic actions we’re taking today will further boost our earnings power and free cash flow generation ability, as we power into and win the eventual recovery.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to Lance to provide more details on our second quarter financial results. Lance?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Jeff, and good morning. Let’s start with a summary of our second quarter results compared to the first quarter of 2020. Total company revenue for the quarter was $3.2 billion, and adjusted operating income was $236 million, representing decreases of 37% and 53% respectively. In the second quarter, we recognized $2.1 billion of pre-tax impairments and other charges to further adjust our cost structure to current market conditions. These charges consisted primarily of non-cash asset impairments mainly associated with pressure pumping equipment and real estate, as well as inventory write-offs, severance, and other costs. As a result of this charge, we realized a $49 million reduction in depreciation and amortization expense in the second quarter. This impact is reflected in our division results, with approximately two-thirds associated with our C&P division and the remainder related to our D&E division.

We expect our third quarter depreciation and amortization expense to be approximately $225 million, reflecting one month of additional impact. As Jeff mentioned, by the end of the second quarter, we also accomplished approximately 75% of the annualized $1 billion in cost reductions, and we intend to complete most of the remaining actions by the end of the third quarter. The cash cost associated with the various cost actions in the second quarter was approximately $180 million. We anticipate that we will incur an additional cash cost of approximately $60 million in the third quarter, as we continue to make further structural adjustments.

Moving to our division results, our Completion and Production revenue was $1.7 billion, a decrease of 44%, while operating income was $159 million, a decrease of 54%. These declines were largely a result of a decrease in pressure pumping activity globally, primarily driven by U.S. land and Latin America, coupled with lower artificial lift activity in U.S. land. These were partially offset by improved completion tool sales internationally. Our Drilling and Evaluation revenue was $1.5 billion, a decrease of 27%, while operating income was $127 million, a decrease of 41%. These declines were primarily due to a global reduction in drilling-related services and lower software sales internationally.

In North America, revenue was $1 billion, a 57% decrease. This decline was driven by reduced activity in U.S. land, primarily associated with pressure pumping, well construction, artificial lift, and wireline activity, coupled with reduced activity across multiple product service lines in the Gulf of Mexico. Latin America revenue was $346 million, a 33% decrease resulting primarily from decreased activity across multiple product service lines in Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil, and lower software sales in Mexico.

Turning to Europe/Africa/CIS, revenue was $691 million, a 17% decrease resulting primarily from reduced well construction and pressure pumping activity and lower software sales across the region. This was partially offset by increased fluids activity and completion tool sales in Norway and improved cementing activity and completion tool sales in Russia.

In the Middle East/Asia region, revenue was $1.1 billion, a 10% decrease largely resulting from reduced activity across the majority of product service lines in the Middle East, Malaysia and India, partially offset by improved drilling activity and completion tool sales in China and Kuwait. In the second quarter, our corporate and other expense totaled $50 million, and this amount should serve as the new quarterly run rate for the rest of the year.

Our interest expense for the quarter was $124 million. For the third quarter, we expect it will be closer to $130 million. Other expense for the quarter was $48 million, primarily driven by our foreign exchange exposure and currency weakness in Argentina. Looking ahead, we expect it will be approximately $30 million for the third quarter.

Our normalized effective tax rate for the second quarter was approximately 25%, driven by certain discrete tax items and a lower earnings base. For the third quarter and full year, we expect our effective tax rate to be approximately 24% and 20% respectively. Capital expenditures for the quarter were $142 million, and our full-year 2020 capex estimate of $800 million remains unchanged.

Turning to cash flow, we generated $598 million of cash from operations during the second quarter. As anticipated, working capital was a source of cash. As activity declines globally, working capital has historically been a strong source of cash, and we expect to see continued benefits from working capital for the rest of this year. Free cash flow generation for the quarter was $456 million. Our year-to-date and expected earnings performance for the remainder of the year, combined with working capital benefits and lower capex, should result in full-year free cash flow of over $1 billion.

Finally, while we remain cautious about the forecast and pace of economic recovery and the potential for additional COVID-related shutdowns, let me provide you with some comments on how we see the third quarter playing out based on our outlook. Sequentially, we expect overall company revenue to decline low-single-digits in the third quarter. Lower average rig activity across most regions will impact our D&E division, while modest completions activity improvement should drive C&P division revenue to be flat to slightly up. The full quarter benefit and continued execution of our cost reductions should offset the impact of lower activity on our profitability. As a result, we expect to deliver higher sequential operating income and modestly higher margin.

Let me now turn the call back over to Jeff.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Lance. To sum up our discussion today, our second quarter performance and a tough market demonstrates our organization’s ability to execute swiftly and aggressively, and we expect to complete our remaining cost actions in the third quarter. We have an excellent international business, and it is ready to deliver margin expansion and higher free cash flow conversion in the next upcycle. The actions we have taken in North America, including our service delivery improvement strategy, we believe will enable us to have higher profitability and free cash flow even in a structurally lower environment.

We are moving full steam ahead with the deployment of digital technologies for our customers and internally. And finally, Halliburton is charting a fundamentally different course. I believe the strategic actions we’re taking today will further boost our earnings power and free cash flow generation ability, as we power into and win the eventual recovery.

And now, let’s open it up for questions.

Questions and Answers:

 

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from James West with Evercore ISI. Your line is now open.

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

Hey, good morning guys.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, James.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, James.

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

And, congrats on the execution in a really tough quarter here. Jeff, you talk about this — you’re charting a fundamentally different course, and I think it’s definitely appropriate. We’ve a vision of the oilfield I think aligns with your vision for the future of the oilfield and of course, digital, lower capital intensity, higher returns are all kind of part of that strategy. Could you maybe talk about kind of where you’re in the various parts of that journey, both the digital side, the — obviously, the cost reduction in North America, you’re pretty far along on that, you talked about that, maybe the international and the technology delivery?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, well. Thanks, James. And again, when I look through the noise of the COVID disruption and industry consolidation and rationalization, clearly, we do focus on what is that new course. And we are working on those things right now. I talked about a number of them in my commentary, but we are focused on doubling down on the technology that’s important, drilling iCruise, EarthStar, Cerebro, digital, growing our lift and chemicals businesses, which are described in the commentary, and then, feeding that technology into our fantastic international business. Finally, delivering on North America service delivery improvement strategy, while at the same time demonstrating structurally lower capex on — built on capital efficiency in an organization that executes under any conditions. So, yes, we’re charting a different course.

Progress along digital, we talk about each quarter different things that we’re doing. We’re making terrific project — progress around Halliburton 4.0, feel very good about the kinds of contracts we’re signing today, and the work that’s being done behind the scenes to continue to advance that. And obviously, you saw some of our announcements with partners this quarter.

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

Okay. So you feel good about the path you’re charting here. What about on the customer side? I mean, it seems to me there needs to be a fundamentally different mindset from the customers as well. What’s their approach with their adoption of these new technologies, particularly on the digital side, and then how is that progressing? Is there — are they impediments to change now or are they really aligning with kind of your view and other’s views?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Look, I’ve always said that digital has to evolve, right? It’s something that’s build out over time, and it’s done often with partners. And so, we’ve talked about our partners. But yes, there is an appetite for it absolutely. And I think…

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

Okay.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

When I — let me — when I think about it in terms of reservoir, drilling and production, those are the bites that can be digested today. And so, that’s why when we talk about progress and the things that we’re doing, we’re doing them in those sort of silos, not because we view them long term as silos, but because that’s the way they can be digested right now.

James West — Evercore ISI — Analyst

I see. Okay. Thanks, Jeff.

Operator

Our next question comes from Angie Sedita with Goldman Sachs. Your line is now open.

Angeline Sedita — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. Really impressive quarter. It’s almost unbelievable, the numbers are so good. So, kudos to you guys. International markets as you touched on, Jeff, really important for growth. And you highlighted some of the initiatives there, but can you talk a little bit about cost-cutting opportunities and the opportunity to further improve margins? Obviously, D&E margins had a nice move in Q1, but can you talk about additional efforts there on the cost-cutting side? And then, I know there is a focus on generating more free cash flow out of the international markets, so maybe — and it’s over 50% of your revenues. Maybe talk about — further about international?

Also Read:  Boeing (BA) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Angie. Look, I think we’re positioned in the right markets, the strong markets. We’ve got the technology uptake that’s so important in those markets. And then, what we’re doing around lowering capital efficiency or improving capital efficiency plays straight into that. And so, I expect that we’ll continue to see progress in those markets, and they will be stronger over time.

Angeline Sedita — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Okay. So, maybe you could talk a little bit about the evolution here in your capex profile. And I think that’s really shown through your ’19 and ’20 and become a lower capital-intensive company and really rethinking the U.S. land markets. So, maybe can you talk a little further about that capex profile, how you’re looking at the market differently particularly in the U.S. and the long-term ability to generate more cash flow — free cash flow?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you. The — when I think about the type of equipment we’re building and actually using equipment more efficiently, lowering the cost of that equipment, those are all the kinds of things that we look at. Obviously, we’re focused on improving returns, using our digital capabilities to eliminate cost. We’ve removed roughly 100 facilities, but — we only removed 100 facilities by changing the way we work dramatically, so that it just takes less capital, and that plays into everything from maintenance to where people work, etc. So, that’s sort of the North America view. Now, those same skills and capabilities are applicable everywhere in the world.

And so, I expect us to continue to drive cost out of our business. That’s really — when I talk about charting a different course, digital international strength, and then a leaner organization that drives technology and efficiency. And I think those leaner and efficiency and the technology application will be driving cost out all of the time, including internationally.

Angeline Sedita — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Great. Thanks, Jeff. I’ll turn it over.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Bill Herbert with Simmons. Your line is now open.

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

Good morning. Thank you. Lance, a couple of questions for you on cash flow. First of all, do you expect the working capital harvest in the second half of the year, [Indecipherable] successful as it was in Q2? And then also, difficult to be precise [Technical Issue] with regard to…

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I’m sorry, I didn’t get all of your questions.

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

So, can you hear me now?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

A little muffled.

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

Yeah, okay. The question was, one, working capital as a source of cash, is it a substantial in the second half of the year as it was in the second quarter? And then, with regard to your cash cost saves, difficult to answer, but in the event of a change in regime in November, how do you think about with regard to your cash taxes, and do you have enough cash — do you have enough tax shield to offset a rise in the corporate tax rate? Thanks.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So let me address the first part of your question, which is I think the working capital unwind and the momentum in the second half of the year. Clearly, we had a strong cash flow associated with the unwind in working capital in Q2. I suspect that, that momentum continues into Q3 and Q4, may not be as strong just because we had such — with the revenue declines just in the course of 2Q and the unwind around receivables and then offset by payables. It was good to see that organization continues to be really efficient on how we continue to ring out the cash flow generated from working capital, but may not be a strong as the third quarter, but I still expect momentum to — excuse me, the second quarter, but I still expect momentum from the unwind to continue to incur — to occur in the Q3 and Q4.

And can you repeat the second question? I think you were talking about administrative expenses. But again, Bill, it’s kind of hard to pick you up.

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

Yeah, sorry about this. The cash taxes in the event that we had a change in regime in the — in early November, I guess what Biden [Phonetic] is talking about is a 28% corporate tax rate. I’m just curious as to whether we’re — with whether your tax shield, net operating losses, etc., do you expect to be a [Indecipherable]?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, we don’t, Bill. We’ve got — certainly, we do have the NOLs associated. I mean, look, there is always other ways that Halliburton continues to pay tax — cash taxes, but at the federal tax level, we expect that we’ll have the tax shields from the NOLs.

Bill Herbert — Simmons & Company — Analyst

Thank you very much, Lance.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Bill.

Operator

Our next question comes from Sean Meakim with JP Morgan. Your line is now open.

Sean Meakim — JP Morgan — Analyst

Thank you. Good morning.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Sean.

Sean Meakim — JP Morgan — Analyst

So, the decrementals were very impressive, huge difference compared to what we saw in 2015 and 2016. And I was hoping we could just get a better sense of the run rate for C&P going forward? So, impairments helped us lower D&A. I appreciate you quantifying that for 3Q, it looks like a 400 basis point assistance from 1Q to 3Q. Were there margin benefits from the inventory write-downs? I’m just curious if completions activity gets a little better in 3Q, does the margin follow at the EBITDA line, so looking past EBIT to the EBITDA line?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Look, I think the changes that we’ve described and based on the guidance we’ve given, I think this has been a — the margins that we’ve reset today clearly have been helped by some of the accounting changes and the impairments that was taken over the first part of the year. But look, it’s not to say that we haven’t done a significant amount of work around the cost cuts, which we believe are permanent. It goes across everything that we’re doing, whether it’s drilling, digital, production, frac in North America as Jeff has described. And so, look, I think in terms of our margin progression, we’re going to continue to work that as hard as we can. We still got some room to continue to improve on that cost-cutting journey as we described in our remarks. And look, I think it sets us up ultimately that when activity moves up, all of this is done with the expectation that we ultimately have stronger incrementals with these permanent cost cuts and changes.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, let me just follow that up with. Look, the way to look at things is — in my view is, what that new course look like. And that new course looks like substantially lower cost, like a reset around cost, where we’re directing our energies towards digital being much sharper in North America around how we invest, what we do, and how we manage that cost structure. Internationally, continuing to protect and pour technology into that market and then the structurally lower capex, and that all comes from changing things that we’re doing. And so, we’re changing many business processes and this is the way we view things, which ultimately drives substantially lower cost and resets margins and cash flow higher.

Sean Meakim — JP Morgan — Analyst

Right. Got it. I appreciate that. And so, then just as a follow-up, if we think that EBIT will be higher quarter-over-quarter, modestly higher margins as a percentage, does that follow the same for EBITDA? Do you think EBITDA can grow quarter-over-quarter?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think the implications — with everything that we’ve described, Sean, on our prepared remarks, would tell you that EBITDA is relatively flat even though the top line is coming down.

Sean Meakim — JP Morgan — Analyst

Got it. Very helpful. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from David Anderson with Barclays. Your line is now open.

David Anderson — Barclays — Analyst

Hey, good morning, Jeff. So obviously, international is a bigger part of your business now going forward. Just wondering in your outlook as you think about international markets how they’re trending, how you’ve thought about pricing in that outlook and particularly the second half of the year? Hearing some reports about pricing concessions being asked for the NOCs, particularly in the Middle East. So, I was just wondering if you could just kind of talk about that and whether you think that’s a concern or risk for the industry. I mean, I know you have a lot of other contracts, LSTK contracts and whatnot. So, maybe you can just kind of talk about both sets, if you won’t mind please?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, look, I think the fact is pricing never recovered internationally. And, at this point, we haven’t seen many tenders. So, we don’t have much of a view of that. But bottom line is there’s much less capital internationally. I mean, the excess capital just isn’t there, maybe the way that it’s in the U.S. So, that’s probably getting sorted out in the U.S. as well. And so, most of the dialog has been more around working on efficiencies, how to drive more efficient operations both for our customers and for us and less so around pricing. It doesn’t mean that they don’t get asked about, but at the same time, the only effective path forward is to drive better efficiency, utilization of technology and that sort of thing internationally. I would say that applies to NOCs and IOCs.

David Anderson — Barclays — Analyst

So you’re not being asked to cut. I didn’t mean on new tenders, I mean on kind of existing work. You’re being asked to cut pricing on existing work?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I understand. And I would say that, certainly the first response is let’s look for ways to drive better efficiency, not address pricing because most of these tenders — most of these contracts that are in place today were lit arguably at the bottom of the international cycle, which was in 2016.

David Anderson — Barclays — Analyst

Fair point, fair point. You mentioned digital quite a bit today on today’s call. Just curious about something, as you’re looking forward. In terms of where you want to be, let’s just think like two or three years down the road here. Do you think you can pull all the technology out internally? In other words, can you create all this organically or do you need to look outside? I guess, if I look back in the past, looking the back late — in the mid ’90s, those technology acquisitions were critical obviously to you and some of your biggest competitors. I’m thinking about Landmark of course. How are you thinking about that going forward? I mean, is that something you’re going to have to look outside of Halliburton? Is that a combination? Just kind of broader views on that please?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, broadly, I treat that the same as we do most of our M&A in the sense that we see — when we see opportunities to accelerate R&D or we see things that are important as we make them, and we’ve continued to do smaller transactions around our digital offerings, though we’re very thoughtful around the build versus buy approach, and that’s a lot of the valuation. We feel like we can through partners and others get into all of the things we need to do and deliver platform solutions. But — and so, there is not like a big transformational thing that’s in our minds. More importantly, in my view, is continuing to advance the R&D around digital.

David Anderson — Barclays — Analyst

Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Our next question comes from Chase Mulvehill with Bank of America. Your line is now open.

Chase Mulvehill — Bank of America/Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Hey, good morning everybody. I guess, what is kind of stick on this kind of digital and remote operations that you guys have been talking about through the quarter — I’ll go through the past couple of quarters. I guess first, how should we think about the structural margin improvement from these cost savings initiatives on the remote operations and automation side, and how much of benefit did you see kind of in 2Q? And then, the second part of the question is really how easily can competitors replicate this strategy over time?

Also Read:  Datadog, Inc. (DDOG) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Chase. The Q2, the digital technology and the digital approach that we’re taking is what enables the cost reductions that we’re — a large part of the cost reductions that we’re seeing in Q2. I wouldn’t describe it as enough activity to actually drive the kind of incremental. I mean, we did — it will drive terrific incrementals as we see any activity growth. But the ability — I’m going to stick with real estate rationalization just as a proxy for the kind of things that can be removed when we use the digital solutions that we have internally.

For our customers. I think I described in my remarks at least one example around how digital solutions are driving much better performance both for our customers and for ourselves. And so, I think that we’ll continue to see that play a role. Replicating digital at scale is very difficult. I mean, I think that will prove to be — I know what’s involved in it for us, and I know that we’re working with some of the very best partners in the industry. And it’s not — it takes a lot of work on our part and a lot of discipline around platform outcomes that are scalable and reliable sort of all the time. And so, I think that I’m quite confident about where we’re going.

Chase Mulvehill — Bank of America/Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Okay. Great. I appreciate the color. One quick follow-up on the capex side, you mentioned 5% to 6% of revenues being spent on capex. Can you confirm, if that’s a long-term capex number? And maybe, how much of that is maintenance versus growth? And then, if this implies that maybe on the international side that the market share strategy — market share gain strategy is less of a focus over the medium to longer term?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think that the 5% to 6% versus the 10% to 11% is a longer-term outlook that’s based on capital efficiency, just to how we build things and how we take them to market, how fast we move them around, all of the things that drive lower capital requirements. And so, I believe those changes are largely permanent also. When I think about how that plays out internationally, I think that same efficiency, a lot of the technology and tools that I described, particularly around capital efficiency, whether it’s iCruise or Cerebro or some of those technologies are inherently lower capital requirements when they’re being used. Obviously, we went through a period of building that out over the last year, but operationally, they operated probably 20% less — more efficient, better velocity. I think we have that to reap internationally over time.

Chase Mulvehill — Bank of America/Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Perfect. All right. I’ll turn it back over. Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Scott Gruber with Citigroup. Your line is now open.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

Yes. Good morning.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Scott.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

So, the big question for you and peers has been how to make a profit in a smaller U.S. market. You guys obviously took a great stride here in 2Q to proving that’s very possible. Lance, you mentioned strong incrementals during the recovery here.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

I realize we’re just starting to poke our head out of the bunker from one of the worst downturns we’ve ever seen, but if we do get back to 500 or 600 rigs operate in the U.S., which is more or less consensus I think, what’s a reasonable range to think about where C&P margins could rise to?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Scott, I’ll talk to that. Look, I think as you look to — into the future and what the recovery may look like in North America and in the — in this picture that you painted around activity, I think this is going to continue to be a good business that delivers mid-teens margins and produce a heck of a lot of free cash flow given the things that we’ve talked about on this call today operationally and the way that we’re becoming sharper in North America with our service delivery improvement initiatives, on top of just structurally lower capex requirements to achieve that business drives a really nice free cash flow profile we believe. Yeah, I think in — go ahead, sorry.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

No. Go ahead, Jeff.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I’ll only add one thing to that, because as we look at North America, if we just sort of assume a flat level of production in ’21 and then, we move that forward into ’22, we see all of the attrition and sort of tightening that is happening. I think we were well on this path sort of at the end of last year, coming into this year, and we saw solid performance in Q1. We expect we get back to a market that’s probably size and shape at least from a supply and demand of equipment standpoint, something that looks like Q1 2020 sometime further out, and the approach that we’re taking I think will work very well for us.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

Got it. And then just given your technology investments on the D&E side and given the cost reset on that side of the business as well, and kind of just where you stand in terms of the market share gains internationally, do you think when we’re at mid-cycle in the next cycle, is the gap between C&P margin and D&E margins much smaller than what we see in the last few cycles?

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I would expect so. I mean, again, we have expectations that, that business continues to improve also. We’re well on the way to doing that really up until we got into the pandemic situation and where we are today, but none of the fundamentals have changed around what we’re doing other than I think a sharper cost structure around these things.

Scott Gruber — Citigroup — Analyst

I appreciate it. Thank you.

Lance Loeffler — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Marc Bianchi with Cowen. Your line is now open.

Marc Bianchi — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Hey, thank you. I wanted to ask first on kind of the third quarter outlook for completions. I think you mentioned up for your North America C&P business. Do you see that outperforming the market? In other words, do you think that the market could be flat to down, but Halliburton’s up or do you also see the market up in the third quarter?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

For completions, look, I think we’re off the bottom in May. And I think you’ll see a little bit of an uptick in Q3 as DUCs get completed. Drilling we think will be down a little bit. And I think that’ll be — many of our customers managing decline rates into the end of the year. But our view of the market is it stays with making returns and then taking on the work that we believe we can execute well. So, I think that’s what the overall market will do, and I think we’ll be in and around that.

Marc Bianchi — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Great. Great, thanks for that, Jeff. And then, you guys had mentioned in the press release and then, a few times on this call about winning the recovery. Maybe, if you could offer for us a little bit more color on what that means? What are the metrics we should be looking for from you guys in terms of claiming victory on that front?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think that’s returns and cash flows. I mean, we spend a lot of time talking about free cash flow and returns and that’s what we’re setting up for today. And I think we get well through whatever this period of time is until we see commodity prices tighten. I think we do well through this near term. But then when we start to see tightening, we’re going to have the right cost structure that scales very efficiently with strong incrementals, and it delivers a lot of free cash flow and very, very good returns. That’s what winning the recovery looks like to me.

Marc Bianchi — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Is there a threshold, is there a target that we should be looking for, percentage of revenue in terms of free cash…

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

I think we ought to get closer to that point before we start setting targets around that, but what my expectations are is that it’s a very strong performance by Halliburton, but it’s out there always.

Marc Bianchi — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Kurt Hallead with RBC Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

Kurt Hallead — RBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey, good morning.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Kurt.

Kurt Hallead — RBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey, Jeff. I’m just kind of curious when you provided the outlook here for the second half of 2020. You indicated an uptick in completion activity in the third quarter and then a seasonal decline in the fourth quarter. And I’m just curious on that just given how rapid the decline in that overall activity was and how sharp the decline in overall spending has been for 2020? So, I guess, you’re picking up that dynamic from your discussions with customers, so they’re going to get a little more active in the third quarter and just pull back again in the fourth? It seems a little bit counterintuitive just given how sharply spend and activity has really been cut?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, look, I think it’s going to rest more around DUC activity as we go into the second half of the year. So, on a relative basis, more pronounced Q3, less pronounced Q4 would be my impression. So, I think every customer is working their own strategy around what do they need to do as they go into 2021, which will be obviously a time where some stability needs to return to productive capacity and those sorts of things.

So, is it more modest sort of in Q4? It may be. But my overall outlook is, it will be relatively biased even if you just take into account holidays and all those sorts of things that happen in Q4, along with weather. I mean, this isn’t the kind of market where you power through terrible weather in an effort to try to get to some point, I don’t think in Q4.

Kurt Hallead — RBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Okay. That’s good color. And just maybe one quick follow-up here, it looks like the run rate on capex will be a little bit higher in the second half than it was in the first half. You indicated that your capex is a project pipeline driven. So, is it safe to assume here that you’re starting to see an increase in potential project activity going out into 2021?

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Look now, I think what we see are some long lead time items that we do. We talked about projects being deferred, but not necessarily canceled. So, we have to manage all of that together and so, precisely where those things fall in the calendar is where they fall. I think what’s most important to think about around capital really is the overall efficiency that we’ve driven into both the tools, process, the asset velocity, which will structurally help us keep that at a much lower point than it has been in the past.

Kurt Hallead — RBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Okay. Great. Appreciate that follow-up. Thanks.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. That concludes our question-and-answer session for today. I’d like to turn the conference back over to Jeff Miller for closing remarks.

Jeff Miller — Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Liz. Before we wrap up today’s call, I’d like to leave you with a few closing comments. Our second quarter performance demonstrates Halliburton’s ability to execute swiftly and aggressively. The actions we’ve taken in North America, we believe, will enable higher profitability and free cash flow even in a structurally lower environment. We have an excellent international business and are moving full steam ahead with the deployment of digital technologies, both for our customers and internally. Most importantly, Halliburton is charting a fundamentally different course. I believe the strategic actions we are taking today will meaningfully reset our earnings power and free cash flow ability, as we power into and win the eventual recovery. I look forward to speaking with you again next quarter. Liz, please close out the call.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Disclaimer

This transcript is produced by AlphaStreet, Inc. While we strive to produce the best transcripts, it may contain misspellings and other inaccuracies. This transcript is provided as is without express or implied warranties of any kind. As with all our articles, AlphaStreet, Inc. does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company’s SEC filings. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this transcript constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of securities or commodities. Any opinion expressed in the transcript does not necessarily reflect the views of AlphaStreet, Inc.

© COPYRIGHT 2020, AlphaStreet, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, redistribution or retransmission is expressly prohibited.

Most Popular

Yelp Q2 earnings: All key figures

Yelp (NYSE: YELP) reported second-quarter financial results after the regular trading hours on Thursday. The results were better than what the street had anticipated. YELP shares rose 4% immediately following the

Infographic: Uber (UBER) Q2 loss narrows; revenue beats

Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) reported its second-quarter 2020 financial results after the regular trading hours on Thursday. Revenues exceeded the estimates, while the bottom-line missed. Shares of the ride-hailing company

TMobile (TMUS) Q2 revenue up 61%; results beat Street view

TMobile US Inc.  (NASDAQ: TMUS) on Thursday announced financial results for the second quarter of 2020, reporting a 61% increase in revenues aided by strong customer growth. The results also

Top