BUSINESS

Precision Drilling profits climb 11 per cent as it cuts capital spending plan

07/25/2012 06:26 EDT | Updated 09/24/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - Precision Drilling Corp. (TSX:PD) says its net earnings grew 11.3 per cent in the second quarter, but the company is also reining in its capital spending plan for the second time this year as activity slows.

The Calgary-based firm posted earnings of $18.3 million, or six cents per diluted share, double what analysts had expected, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The results compare to net earnings of $16.4 million, or six cents per diluted share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue grew to $382 million compared to $345 million.

"Despite softening customer demand and a prolonged Canadian spring break-up this was Precision's strongest second quarter for EBITDA in the history of the company," said president and CEO Kevin Neveu in a release.

However he noted that the Precision Drilling "remains mindful of the volatile and weakened oil prices and depressed natural gas prices, the reduction in our customers' cash flow and the potential impact that has on our business."

As a response, the company slashed its capital spending plan for the second time this year to $875 million, after previously pulling back on the enthusiastic boost it gave to the spending plan back in December.

Late last year, the company increased its 2012 capital budget by 54 per cent to $1.14 billion. However, in April that plan was reduced to $975 million.

Precision is Canada's largest oilfield services company, with a presence in the United States and Latin America.

Shares in Precision closed up three cents to $7.48 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.