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Q4 Earnings: Improved client spending boost SAExploration revenues

Shares of SAExploration Holdings (NASDAQ: SAEX, OTCQB: SXPLW) were volatile in the extended hours of trading despite the oil services firm reported solid revenues for the fourth quarter. The company also sees improved performance in the fiscal 2019 period.

Commenting on the fiscal 2019 outlook, CEO Jeff Hastings said, “We expect meaningfully improved results during the first half of 2019 and improved visibility on the second half of the year as well.”

Improved spending from the clients helped the firm in the Q4 period with revenues skyrocketing above 400% to $25.6 million over the prior year. Net loss increased to $22.6 million over last year due to amortization expense as part of the Geokinetics deal and surge in income tax expenses. However, the loss came down compared to Q3 period.

Non-GAAP gross profit was $1.3 million compared to a loss of $0.8 million last year while adjusted EBITDA came in at a negative $8 million over $6.8 million loss in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA and gross profit were impacted by unfavorable pricing from the fixed cost projects. Capital spending reduced to $0.2 million compared to $0.3 million reported in Q4 of last year.

SAExploration’s backlog increased due to improved macros. The company ended Q4 with a backlog of $184.9 million and outstanding bids of $570.7 million. At the end of the Q3 period, the company’s backlog was $173.2 million and outstanding bids were $383.7 million. It’s worth noting that the backlog doesn’t include the $60 million worth of projects won by the firm in Alaska and APAC region. All projects in the backlog are expected to be completed during the 2019 period.

The company’s stock had a free fall post the Geokinetics deal close announced last year. In September, it also announced a 20-to-1 reverse split resulting in the stock decreasing more than 18%. However, this year the stock has recovered from its 52-week low levels recorded in January.

On March 8, the company announced that it has received $60 million worth of projects in Alaska and Southeast Asia. Post the announcement, shares of the oilfield services firm jumped above 45%.

SAExploration has been hurt by weaker demand for oilfield services due to lower spending from its clients. Oil and gas industry has been impacted by weak macros, volatile oil prices, geopolitical tensions and trade wars, which has forced oil firms to reduce their exploration-related spending.

Last quarter, the company reported revenues of $15 million and a loss of $4 million. Net loss increased to $25.3 million compared to $13.8 million in the prior year, and adjusted loss came in at $1.1 million. Backlog at the end of the third quarter stood at $173.2 million.

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