Is the tide turning for this debt-burdened mining services provider?
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Embattled drill services company Boart Longyear has delivered a 15 per cent jump in revenue and net loss improvement in the half-year 2017.
Investors welcomed the news, pushing the share price up 25 per cent to 6.9c in lunchtime trade.
However Boart’s debt position continues to climb.
Revenue for the half-year came in at $356 million, up from $310 million in the previous corresponding period, while adjusted net loss came in at $42 million, a 20 per cent improvement on the previous year’s $73 million loss.
Adjusted EBITDA was $21 million for the period, up 58 per cent compared to $13 million in corresponding period 2016.
The improvement was put down to Boart’s focus on operating improvements, including cost-out measures and the company’s Drilling Services productivity initiative which began back in 2015.
Shareholders in the South Australia-based company (ASX:BLY) welcomed the news of an improvement in its financial results, with the stock gaining 1.3c to hit an intraday high of 6.8c up 24 per cent.
“We started to see signs of an improving market during the second half of 2016 and that trend has continued in the first half of 2017, as evidenced by improvements in virtually all of our financial and operating metrics”, Boart Longyear’s CEO Jeff Olsen said.
We also continue to see positive macro signs, including the recovery of prices for the commodities for which we drill as well as the strongest levels of equity raisings by junior mining companies since 2012. Our goal is still to be cash positive in 2017, net of professional fees related to our recapitalisation and severance costs.”
Mr Olsen said the company had begun rolling out at-site drilling data tools (survey geophysics, logging, core orientation and assay) and expected this to accelerate in the second half of 2017.
Despite the financial improvement, Boart’s debt position continued to grow, up 11 per cent during the period to $753 million from $676 million at end of December 2016.
The company has been trying to refinance its debt balance. Some news reports say Boart owes US private equity firm Centerbridge around $US250 million, its secured noteholders $US195 million and unsecured noteholders $US284 million.
The company announced a restructuring proposal in April, which would see company creditors take 98 per cent of the company.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of New South Wales approved the creditors’ scheme of arrangement as part of Boart’s recapitalisation. The company said the scheme would become effective at the end of the month pending any appeals.
“With Australian court approval of the schemes of arrangement, the financial restructuring process we announced in August 2016 is nearing completion,” Mr Olsen said.
“When we set out on this process, our primary objectives were to reduce our debt, secure additional liquidity and extend the maturities on our debt, and these objectives have all been accomplished.”
Shares in Boart were trading at 6.7c at lunchtime today, valuing the company at about $52 million.