Tidewater's CEO Discusses F4Q12 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Tidewater, Inc. (TDW)

F4Q12 Earnings Conference Call

May 21, 2012 11:00 AM ET

Executives

Joseph Bennett - Executive Vice President and Chief Investor Relations Officer

Dean Taylor - Chairman, President and CEO

Quinn Fanning - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Jeffrey Platt - Chief Operating Officer

Bruce Lundstrom - Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Analysts

James Crandell – Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC

Veny Aleksandrov – Pritchard Capital Partners, LLC

Gregory Lewis – Credit Suisse

Joseph Gibney – Capital One Southcoast, Inc.

Jonathan Donnel – Howard Weil

Al Rivera – Individual Investor

Todd Scholl – Clarkson Capital Markets

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is Ashley and I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the 2012 fourth quarter earnings conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

Thank you. Mr. Bennett, you may begin your conference.

Joseph Bennett

Thank you, Ashley. Good morning everyone and welcome to Tidewater’s fiscal 2012 full year and fourth quarter earnings results conference call for the period ended March 31st, 2012. I am Joe Bennett, Tidewater’s Executive Vice President and Chief Investor Relations Officer. With me this morning on the call are our Chairman, President and CEO, Dean Taylor; Jeff Platt, our Chief Operating Officer; Quinn Fanning, Executive Vice President and CFO; and Bruce Lundstrom, our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary.

We’ll follow our usual conference call format. After the formalities, I’ll turn the call over to Dean for his initial comments, to be followed by Quinn’s review of the financial details for the quarter. Dean will then provide some wrap-up comments before we open the call for questions.

During today’s conference call, Dean, Quinn, I, and other Tidewater management may make certain comments that are forward-looking statements and not statements of historical fact. I know that you understand that there are risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the company’s actual future performance to be materially different from that stated or implied by any comment that we may make during today’s conference call.

Additional information concerning the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by the forward-looking statements may be found in the Risk Factors section of Tidewater’s most recent Form 10-K.

With that, I’ll turn the call over to Dean.

Dean Taylor

Thank you, Joe, and good morning, everyone. Earlier this morning, we reported fully diluted earnings per share for our fourth fiscal quarter of $0.66, which compared to an adjusted $0.51 a year ago. For all of fiscal 2012, our fully diluted earnings per share were $1.70, which if adjusted for our goodwill impairment charge in the second fiscal quarter when we elected to reorganize our business into four geographic regions would have been $2.13, down from the adjusted $2.40 per share for fiscal 2011.

This year’s annual report has the theme “the tide is turning”, reflecting our belief that the industry cycle has turned and that Tidewater is both prepared for this upturn and continues to actively invest in order to capitalize on the business opportunities we see emerging on the horizon. Our last two quarterly results confirm our belief about slowly improving industry conditions. If you look at the past fiscal year by halves, we averaged revenues of about $250 million per quarter in the first half compared to about $280 million per quarter in the second.

Our consolidated vessel revenues were $288 million in the fourth quarter, up 14% from the year ago quarter and are setting the stage for further improvement this fiscal year.

Our financial results for the fourth quarter reflected revenues coming in at the upper end of our guidance on the last conference call, while operating expenses were at the low end. Both trends are positive and reflect improving industry fundamentals along with continued diligence in managing our business. A part of that diligence is our attention to safety. Although our last quarter’s safety performance was marred by one last time[ph] accident, Tidewater’s safety record for the full year was the second best in the company’s history, with the total recordable incident rate of 0.14 per 200,000 man hours worked. I thank all of our employees worldwide for their diligence in operating our fleets safely.

I am sure that most participants on this call are focused on what I have to say about two topics, the situation in Angola and what to expect following my retirement from active management. I’ll comment on the second topic later in the call, but with regards to Angola and our ongoing negotiations with Sonangol, our joint venture partner, there isn’t much new to report. We continue discussions with Sonangol relating to our joint venture agreement.

As we have advised, we can no longer extend vessel contracts or enter into new ones in Angola as matters stand. The net effect of that to date is not been significant, as we have been able for the most part to take advantage of an improving demand in the worldwide market to place vessels that otherwise were slated for work in Angola. We are also exploring opportunities to move vessels from Angola to other markets as the existing contract come to an end.

I emphasize that we move vessels from market to market all of the time. It is part of what we do, given our broad geographic infrastructure. Though we are hopeful that our new joint venture agreement can be reached that will meet the objectives of Sonangol, while ensuring at the interest of Tidewater shareholders are protected, we must stay precautions in case that we do not. We do not intent to negotiate via our press releases or conference calls.

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