Core Lab Earns $0.24 Per Share on Record Q4 2003 Revenues
Record Cash from Operating Activities Exceeds $61,000,000
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb 25, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Core Laboratories (NYSE: CLB) announced that it earned $0.24 per diluted share (EPS) in the fourth quarter of 2003 while posting $106,818,000 in revenue, its highest quarterly total ever. The earnings were a 19% sequential increase over third quarter 2003 results and more than doubled last year's fourth quarter totals. The $0.24 EPS is the third highest quarterly total in Company history, surpassed only by the third quarter EPS totals of $0.29 and $0.27 in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Company-wide operating margins reached 11% in the fourth quarter, up 15% over the prior quarter. The record quarterly revenues were driven by the continuation of Reservoir Description projects primarily from international operations, and continued high demand for Production Enhancement technologies in North America.
For the year, Core generated $405,637,000 in revenue, an all-time high, and an increase of 11% over the 2002 total of $364,748,000. The revenue increase continues to be driven by international crude-oil and North American natural-gas projects, the introduction of new services, and further market acceptance of and penetration by the Company's proprietary technologies. Moreover, higher finding and development costs for hydrocarbons, especially natural gas on the shallow shelf of the Gulf of Mexico and crude oil in North America, have caused oil companies to increase spending allocated to optimizing hydrocarbon production and recovery factors. The Company earned $0.60 EPS for all of 2003, almost three times greater than the $0.23 EPS earned in 2002 before the cumulative effect of change in accounting principle.
For the full year of 2003, Core generated record levels of cash from operating activities that totaled $61,323,000. Free cash flow (defined as cash from operating activities of $61,323,000 minus capital expenditures of $23,547,000) also reached the record annual total of $37,776,000 or approximately $1.25 per share. With the additional cash flow Core continued its Share Repurchase Program during the fourth quarter by buying approximately 800,000 shares in open market purchases and almost 4,700,000 shares during 2003. Since the inception of the Share Repurchase Program in October 2002, Core has repurchased over 5,870,000 shares at an average price of approximately $12.30 per share. To date, Core has invested over $72,000,000 in the Stock Repurchase Program, maintaining a net debt to capitalization ratio of 30.4%. Core has shareholder authorization to repurchase 2,100,000 shares thru April, 2005 and will seek approval at its next annual shareholders meeting in May 2004 to repurchase an additional 10% of its outstanding shares. Currently, Core has approximately 27,600,000 shares outstanding and 29,047,000 diluted shares outstanding.
"Core Laboratories' 19% sequential quarterly earnings increase and the record quarterly revenue totals for both Reservoir Description and Production Enhancement confirm the Company's technological leadership in providing unique reservoir optimization services," said Chairman, CEO and President David M. Demshur. "Our operations generated record levels of cash from operations and free cash flow. We used this cash to create shareholder value via our Stock Repurchase Program, and we invested over $23,500,000 in capital expenditures to continue to grow the Company. The execution of our business plan continues to improve as indicated by our operational accomplishments, which produced a record year in 2003."