Rowan Companies' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Rowan Companies (RDC)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 28, 2012 11:00 am ET


Suzanne M. McLeod - Director of Investor Relations

W. Matt Ralls - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director and Chairman of Executive Committee

Thomas P. Burke - Chief Operating Officer

Mark A. Keller - Executive Vice President of Business Development

William H. Wells - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and Treasurer

J. Kevin Bartol - Senior Vice President of Corporate Development


Collin Gerry - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Joe Hill - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division

David Wilson - Howard Weil Incorporated, Research Division

Robert MacKenzie - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division

Kurt Hallead - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Matthew D. Conlan - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Frank Harestad - Pareto Securities AS, Research Division

David C. Smith - Johnson Rice & Company, L.L.C., Research Division

Unknown Analyst



Greetings, and welcome to the Rowan Companies Inc. Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Earnings Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It's now my pleasure to introduce your host, Suzanne Spera, Director of Investor Relations for Rowan Companies Inc. Thank you, Suzanne. You may begin.

Suzanne M. McLeod

Thank you, Roya, and good morning. Welcome to Rowan's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Earnings Conference Call. Joining me on the call this morning are Matt Ralls, President and Chief Executive Officer; Tom Burke, Chief Operating Officer; Mark Keller, Executive Vice President, Business Development; and Bill Wells, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, who will have prepared comments. Also in the room to respond to questions is Kevin Bartol, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development.

Before Matt begins his remarks, I'd like to remind you that during the course of this conference call, forward-looking statements may be made within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, statements about a proposed change in corporate structure, as well as statements as to the expectations, beliefs and future expected financial performance of the company that are based on current expectations and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected by the company. These and other relevant factors will have, have been and will be disclosed in the company's filings with the SEC.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Matt.

W. Matt Ralls

Thanks, Suzanne. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Before we get into the results of the fourth quarter, I want to discuss the other release we made today. Last Friday, our Board of Directors unanimously approved a plan to change our corporate structure, which we believe will enhance shareholder value by further strengthening our long-term competitive position as a global contract driller. Under the proposed plan, our legal domicile will change from Delaware to the U.K. where we already have substantial and growing operations. This move is designed to ensure that Rowan will remain competitive in our industry over the long-term and have maximum flexibility in terms of the markets in which we work. The offshore drilling industry is a global business, and over the past several years, Rowan has been steadily moving away from being a predominantly U.S.-based contractor and toward geographic diversification.

By way of example, in 2004, 10% of our revenues were generated outside the U.S. In 2012, we estimate that 81% of our revenues will be generated outside the U.S. In addition, 96% of our contract backlog is from markets outside the U.S. Eight of our top 10 customers are headquartered outside the U.S., and as you're aware, the overwhelming majority of our competitors are domiciled overseas.

So for us, this change continues the natural evolution of our business. Today, our U.K. group manages operations that will represent our largest source of revenues, or an estimated 38% in 2012 and is centrally located between our second and third largest regions, the Middle East and the Gulf of Mexico. This transaction will better facilitate oversight of our global operations and communications with both our management teams and customers.

Importantly, as we enter the ultra-deepwater business, this change will put us on the same footing with our major competitors, which should mean higher returns and greater resources to reinvest in growing our company. Our U.S. operations will not be affected by this change, and we expect to continue to invest in further growth and job creation, both here in the U.S. and overseas.

We anticipate completing the merger in the spring following a special meeting of shareholders, details of which can be found in the notice of special meeting of stockholders and proxy statement and prospectus that are on file with the SEC. Following shareholder approval, our ADSs will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under our existing symbol.

In summary, we believe this transaction serves the best interest of our shareholders by supporting and advancing Rowan's evolution as a global contract driller. With that, I'll come back to the results for the quarter and year that we announced today.

Excluding the impact of some onetime charges, our earnings for the quarter came in at consensus. Admittedly, estimates have been coming down as we made analysts aware of rig relocations, shipyard stays and operational downtime impacting the quarter.

I'll now ask Tom Burke to give you a brief synopsis of our planned rig relocations and upgrades. Then after Mark updates you on rig markets, Bill will provide guidance and what we expect for 2012 expense and activity levels.

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