Core Laboratories N.V. ( CLB)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

October 20, 2011 8:30 AM EST


David Demshur – Chairman, CEO, and President

Dick Bergmark – EVP and CFO

Monty Davis – COO


Jim Crandell – Dahlman Rose

James West – Barclays Capital

Doug Becker – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Rob Mackenzie – FBR

Veny Aleksandrov – Pritchard Capital

John Daniels – Simmons & Company

Stephen Gengaro – Sterne Agee

Victor Marchon – RBC Capital Markets

Blake Hutchinson – Howard Weil

John Lawrence – Tudor Pickering



Good morning. My name is Jurie [ph] and I will be your conference operator today.

At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Core Lab Q3 2011 earnings conference call.

All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. (Operator Instructions).

Thank you. At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to Core Laboratories’ Chairman, CEO, and President, Mr. David Demshur. Sir, you may begin your conference.

David Demshur

Thanks Jurie. Good morning in North America, good afternoon in Europe and good evening in Asia Pacific. We would like to welcome all of our shareholders, analysts, and most importantly, our employees to Core Laboratory's third quarter 2011 earnings conference call.

This morning I am joined by Dick Bergmark, Core's Executive Vice President and CFO. Also, again this morning, we are again joined by Core's COO, Monty Davis, who will present the detailed operational review.

The call will be divided into five segments. Dick will start by making remarks regarding forward-looking statements. Then, we'll come back and give a brief investor update and highlight the three financial tenets by which Core's executive management executes the company's growth strategies. We believe that these three financial tenants have produced industry-leading shareholder returns and returns on invested capital.

We will also discuss Core's long held philosophy of returning excess capital back to our shareholders. Dick will then follow with a detailed financial overview and additional comments regarding building shareholder value and Core's fourth quarter and full-year 2011 revenue and earnings guidance, which has been increased from our prior guidance indicating our confidence in trends of North America, international and deepwater activities tied to crude oil developments. Then Monty will go over Core's three operating segments, detailing our progress and discussing the continued successful introduction of new Core Lab technologies and services and then highlighting some of Core's operations and major projects. And then we'll open the phones for Q&A.

So I'll turn it over to Dick for remarks regarding forward-looking statements. Dick?

Dick Bergmark

Thanks, David. Before we start the conference this morning, I'll mention that some of the statements that we make during this call may include projections, estimates and other forward-looking information. This would include any discussion of the company's business outlook. These types of forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risk and uncertainties relating to the oil and gas industry, business conditions, international markets, international political climate and other factors including those discussed in our '34 Act filings that may affect our outcome.

Should one or more of these risk or uncertainties materialize, or should any of our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary in material respect from those projected in the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. For a more detailed discussion of some of the foregoing risk and uncertainties, see Item 1A Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, as well as the other reports and registration statements filed by us with the SEC.

Now with that said, I'll pass the discussion back to David.

David Demshur

Okay, thanks, Dick. On the brief investor update, Core’s operations produced another all-time record quarter as the company continued to realize the long-awaited increase in international and deepwater offshore activities in response to higher oil prices and the dwindling global spare oil producing capacity. Core’s Reservoir Description results reflected the positive increases in both international and deepwater activities, a trend that continues into the fourth quarter.

Our third quarter 2011 results were also bolstered by North American activity levels, which drove incremental margins and we see sequential incremental margins for Production Enhancement as we projected during last quarter’s earnings conference call. And finally, Reservoir Management, posted its best third quarter ever, reflecting additional oil company support for its joint industry projects in unconventional oil shale reservoirs in North America and the growing interest in unconventional shale reservoirs internationally.

Our growth strategies and the execution by our operating units continue to serve our clients, our employees and our shareholders well. Core’s continued focus on international crude oil related developments, especially those in deepwater environments, North America unconventional oil resource plays, and the continued internal development of new technologies and services have led to multiple year of sustained growth and increased profitability.

Core has always followed and will continue to follow three key investment tenants that have led to industry-leading returns. These three tenants are: number one, to maximize free cash flow through financial discipline. Core follows a strict discipline for allocating capital for investment and growing our business. Unless a certain return on invested capital standards are met or exceeded, the capital expenditure is disallowed. On average, over the past 30 years, the company has determined that the appropriate capital allocation generally equals the amount of annual depreciation.

Potential acquisition opportunities must also pass the same high standards. This discipline produces free cash flow for the first nine months of 2011 of approximately $129 million, equally $2.68 per diluted share, and essentially equaling net income for the first nine months of 2011. As we’ve often said, net income is a good proxy for Core Lab’s free cash flow. This for sure total will be one of the highest, if not the highest, for all major oil field service companies. In fact, Core converted about one of its every five revenue dollars into free cash during the first nine months of the year. Core will continue to demonstrate strict financial discipline in 2011 and beyond.

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