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TULSA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE: HP) reported net income of $85 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, from operating revenues of $688 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2024, compared to net income of $95 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, from operating revenues of $677 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2023. The net income per diluted share for the second and first quarters of fiscal year 2024 include net $0.00 and net $(0.03) of after-tax gains and losses, respectively, comprised of select items(1). For the second quarter of fiscal year 2024, select items were comprised of:

  • $0.03 of after-tax gains related to the non-cash fair market value adjustments to our equity investments.
  • $(0.03) of after-tax losses related to research and development expenses associated with an asset acquisition.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $144 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $175 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024.

President and CEO John Lindsay commented, "Fiscal second-quarter results are reflective of the Company's continual focus on commercial economics through value delivery in our North America Solutions segment. The direct margins we have been generating in what has been, and continues to be, a somewhat choppy North America Solutions market are a testament to the value creation we provide for our customers. From our perspective, there has been a pronounced and necessary shift in the industry's historical behavior, that is moving its fiscal foundation toward a more sustainable and investable future. Along those lines, we are extremely pleased with the announcement we made during the quarter regarding expanding our presence in the Middle East, with the finalization of the contractual terms with Saudi Aramco for a seven-rig tender award.

"In the U.S. market, contractual churn is still prevalent and pushed our rig count just below the projected exit rate late in the quarter. This churn has been a product of the volatility created by a weaker natural gas market, some recent E&P consolidations, and a variety of other factors. Some of this natural gas volatility is reminiscent of this time last year; however, we believe the impact on our overall activity will be less this year going forward. That said, we do expect the underlying factors causing the churn in the market currently to persist resulting in what we expect to be a fairly stable outlook for our rig count through the third fiscal quarter. Furthermore, we expect stability and resiliency in our direct margins on a per-day basis as well. We will remain focused on direct margins and believe the consistent and reliable drilling outcomes we provide to customers are what ultimately drive our market share.

"Regarding the International Solutions segment, our first rig awarded by Saudi Aramco last August is expected to arrive and commence operations later this summer. For the more recent seven-rig tender award, preparations are ongoing from both a rig and operational perspective with expectations that a majority of these rigs will arrive in Saudi Arabia during the fourth calendar quarter of 2024, and commence operations shortly thereafter. During these preparations, we will continue to spend our 2024 budgeted capex towards this project and incur start-up operational expenses, which may disproportionately impact near-term international segment margins. We are looking forward to working with Saudi Aramco and believe we are at the beginning of a longer-term presence in the region. The Company's other international operations in South America and Australia are expected to remain relatively stable over the next quarter, as well as our Offshore Gulf of Mexico operations."

Senior Vice President and CFO Mark Smith also commented, "Returning cash to shareholders remains a capital allocation priority as the Company provided roughly $46 million in shareholder returns under its fiscal 2024 supplemental shareholder return plan during the quarter. There was approximately $4 million worth of shares repurchased during the quarter and $42 million paid to shareholders in the form of base and supplemental dividends, representing over a 4% yield. That said, we are cognizant that the current higher interest rate environment may be masking some of the longer-term attractiveness of our dividend yield and flexibility embedded in our supplemental shareholder return plan.

"Currently, we expect our rig count in the third fiscal quarter to average in the high-140 range, which is lower compared to the 155 rig average realized during the second fiscal quarter. To reiterate, this lower activity is a result of contractual churn and a weaker natural gas environment and as such has not deterred the Company's approach to pricing or the use of performance contracts to better recognize the total value H&P provides to our customers. We believe our commitment to preserving contract economics is reflected in our direct margin guidance for the upcoming quarter."

John Lindsay concluded, “Working closely with our customers and collaborating through the use of performance contracts is really driving improved and more reliable outcomes. Our people, FlexRigs, and technology solutions are key components of this success and will continue to be drivers of that success in the future."

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