Market Overview

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results, Expands Share Repurchase Program Authorization

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HOUSTON, July 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) ("Cabot" or the "Company") today reported financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2019.

"During the quarter, Cabot successfully executed on its strategic plan of delivering a combination of positive free cash flow generation, improved return on capital employed, and disciplined growth in per share metrics, while continuing to return capital to shareholders through a combination of dividends and opportunistic share repurchases," stated Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our success for the quarter was achieved despite NYMEX natural gas prices retreating to the lowest levels the industry has experienced since the second quarter of 2016, further highlighting Cabot's ability to deliver strong financial results throughout the natural gas price cycle."

Second Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Net income of $181.0 million (or $0.43 per share); adjusted net income (non-GAAP) of $150.6 million (or $0.36 per share)
  • Net cash provided by operating activities of $326.7 million; discretionary cash flow (non-GAAP) of $301.9 million
  • Free cash flow (non-GAAP) of $72.7 million
  • Return on capital employed (ROCE) (non-GAAP) for the trailing twelve months of 23.5 percent
  • Returned $163.4 million of capital to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases
  • Daily equivalent production of 2,349 million cubic feet equivalent (Mmcfe) per day, an increase of 24 percent relative to the prior-year period
  • Improved operating expenses per unit to $1.41 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe), a 24 percent reduction relative to the prior-year period

See the supplemental tables at the end of this press release for a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures including adjusted net income, discretionary cash flow, EBITDAX, free cash flow, net debt to adjusted capitalization ratio, and ROCE.

Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Second quarter 2019 daily equivalent production was 2,349 Mmcfe per day (100 percent natural gas), meeting the high-end of the Company's guidance range and representing a 24 percent increase relative to the second quarter of 2018.

Second quarter 2019 net income was $181.0 million, or $0.43 per share, compared to net income of $42.4 million, or $0.09 per share, in the prior-year period. Second quarter 2019 adjusted net income (non-GAAP) was $150.6 million, or $0.36 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $57.9 million, or $0.13 per share, in the prior-year period. Second quarter 2019 EBITDAX (non-GAAP) was $311.1 million, compared to $232.1 million in the prior-year period.

Second quarter 2019 net cash provided by operating activities was $326.7 million, compared to $273.9 million in the prior-year period. Second quarter 2019 discretionary cash flow (non-GAAP) was $301.9 million, compared to $196.5 million in the prior-year period. Second quarter 2019 free cash flow (non-GAAP) was $72.7 million, compared to a free cash flow deficit of $62.0 million in the prior-year period.

Second quarter 2019 natural gas price realizations, including the impact of derivatives, were $2.27 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), an increase of six percent compared to the prior-year period. Excluding the impact of derivatives, second quarter 2019 natural gas price realizations were $2.20 per Mcf, representing a $0.44 discount to NYMEX settlement prices compared to a $0.68 discount in the prior-year period.

Second quarter 2019 operating expenses (including financing) decreased to $1.41 per Mcfe, a 24 percent improvement compared to the prior-year period. The decrease in operating expenses per unit was primarily driven by a reduction in exploration expenses, in addition to improvements in direct operations; taxes other than income; depreciation, depletion, and amortization; general and administrative; and interest expense.

Cabot incurred a total of $220.4 million of capital expenditures in the second quarter of 2019 including $213.1 million of drilling and facilities capital, $2.6 million of leasehold acquisition capital, and $4.7 million of other capital. Additionally, the Company contributed $3.3 million to its equity method pipeline investments. See the supplemental table at the end of this press release reconciling the capital expenditures during the second quarter of 2019.

Year-To-Date 2019 Financial Results

Daily equivalent production for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019 was 2,313 Mmcfe per day (100 percent natural gas), representing a 22 percent increase relative to the prior-year period.

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, net income was $443.8 million, or $1.05 per share, compared to net income of $159.7 million, or $0.35 per share, for the prior-year period. Adjusted net income (non-GAAP) was $458.4 million, or $1.08 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $186.4 million, or $0.41 per share, for the prior-year period. EBITDAX (non-GAAP) for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019 was $824.7 million, compared to $510.7 million for the prior-year period.

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, net cash provided by operating activities was $911.9 million, compared to $546.7 million for the prior-year period. Discretionary cash flow (non-GAAP) for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019 was $807.7 million, compared to $476.8 million for the prior-year period. Free cash flow (non-GAAP) was $381.1 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, compared to $26.6 million for the prior-year period. ROCE (non-GAAP) improved to 23.5 percent for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2019, compared to 8.5 percent for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2018.

Natural gas price realizations, including the impact of derivatives, were $2.80 per Mcf for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, an increase of 22 percent compared to the prior-year period. 

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, operating expenses (including financing) decreased to $1.45 per Mcfe, a 16 percent improvement compared to the prior-year period. The decrease in operating expenses per unit was primarily driven by a reduction in exploration expenses, in addition to improvements in direct operations; taxes other than income; depreciation, depletion, and amortization; general and administrative; and interest expense.

Cabot incurred a total of $424.7 million of capital expenditures during the six-month period ended June 30, 2019 including $415.4 million of drilling and facilities capital; $3.3 million of leasehold acquisition capital; and $6.0 million of other capital. Additionally, the Company contributed $5.1 million to its equity method pipeline investments during the six-month period ended June 30, 2019.  See the supplemental table at the end of this press release reconciling the capital expenditures during the six-month period ended June 30, 2019.

Share Repurchase Program Update

During the second quarter of 2019, Cabot repurchased 5.1 million shares at a weighted-average share price of $24.63. Since reactivating the share repurchase program in the second quarter of 2017, Cabot has reduced its shares outstanding by over 10 percent to 418.4 million shares.

Additionally, the Board of Directors has authorized an increase in the Company's share repurchase program by 25.0 million shares, bringing the current remaining authorization to 31.5 million shares (or approximately eight percent of its current shares outstanding). All purchases will be made in accordance with applicable securities laws from time to time in open market or private transactions, depending on market conditions, and may be discontinued at any time. "Cabot remains committed to returning a minimum of 50 percent of its annual free cash flow to shareholders in any given year, while also preserving cash on the balance sheet to support continued opportunistic returns of capital, even in the lows of the natural gas price cycle," noted Dinges. "Our outlook for continued positive free cash flow generation provides us confidence that we will remain an industry leader in returning capital to shareholders."

Financial Position and Liquidity

As of June 30, 2019, Cabot had total debt of $1.2 billion and cash on hand of $241.4 million. The Company's net debt-to-adjusted capitalization ratio and net debt-to-trailing twelve months EBITDAX ratio were 29.4 percent and 0.6x, respectively, compared to 37.0 percent and 1.0x as of December 31, 2018.  The Company currently has no debt outstanding under its credit facility, resulting in over $1.7 billion of liquidity.

Third Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Guidance Update

Cabot has provided its third quarter 2019 production guidance range of 2,360 to 2,410 Mmcfe per day. The Company has also adjusted its 2019 production growth guidance to a range of 16 to 18 percent (24 to 26 percent on a debt-adjusted per share basis) due in large part to a change in the operating plan resulting from a unique opportunity to acquire acreage adjacent to an eight-well pad, allowing the Company to increase the total lateral footage on the pad by approximately 28,000 feet (increasing the average lateral length per well from 8,950 feet to 12,450 feet). "This increase in lateral lengths will improve the capital efficiency and economics of the pad; however, the longer cycle time will result in a delay in the wells being placed on production, pushing out the production contribution from this pad to late December or early January," said Dinges.

Cabot has updated its 2019 capital budget to a range of $800 million to $820 million to reflect the incremental drilling and completion activity on the previously referenced eight-well pad and an increase in drilling activity for the year by four net wells resulting from continued efficiency gains on the Company's three fully-contracted drilling rigs.

Additionally, the Company has updated its NYMEX price assumption range for 2019 to reflect a tighter band of expected outcomes resulting from seven months of actual NYMEX settlements year-to-date. The Company has provided updated guidance on its estimated key financial metrics based on this NYMEX price assumption range in the table below.

Estimated 2019 Key Financial Metrics (1)


$2.60 NYMEX


$2.70 NYMEX


$2.80 NYMEX

Adjusted Earnings Per Share Growth (%)


38% - 42%


45% - 49%


52% - 56%

Free Cash Flow ($mm)


$500 - $525


$550 - $575


$600 - $625

Return on Capital Employed (%)


20% - 22%


21% - 23%


22% - 24%


(1) Includes the impact of derivative instruments

For further disclosure on Cabot's expected third quarter 2019 natural gas pricing exposure by index and cost guidance, please see the current Guidance slide in the Investor Relations section of the Company's website.

Preliminary Full-Year 2020 Guidance

Cabot has provided its preliminary 2020 production growth guidance of five percent (seven to eight percent on a debt-adjusted per share basis). This production growth is based on a preliminary capital budget range of $700 million to $725 million. The Company's 2020 program is expected to deliver $375 million to $400 million of free cash flow at a $2.50 NYMEX price and $525 million to $550 million of free cash flow at a $2.75 NYMEX price. "Based on our current outlook for the natural gas market, we believe a strategy that focuses on maximizing free cash flow generation through a reduction in capital spending and production growth will create the most value for our shareholders," explained Dinges. "This strategy, which is underpinned by disciplined capital allocation, will allow the Company to sustainably deliver a combination of free cash flow generation, high return on capital employed, consistent return of capital to shareholders, low leverage, and growth in production and reserves per share."

Conference Call Webcast

A conference call is scheduled for Friday, July 26, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss second quarter 2019 financial and operating results. To access the live audio webcast, please visit the Investor Relations section of the Company's website. A replay of the call will also be available on the Company's website.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a leading independent natural gas producer with its entire resource base located in the continental United States. For additional information, visit the Company's website at www.cabotog.com.

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The statements regarding future financial and operating performance and results, returns to shareholders, strategic pursuits and goals, market prices, future hedging and risk management activities, and other statements that are not historical facts contained in this report are forward-looking statements. The words "expect", "project", "estimate", "believe", "anticipate", "intend", "budget", "plan", "forecast", "outlook", "predict", "may", "should", "could", "will" and similar expressions are also intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, market factors, market prices (including geographic basis differentials) of natural gas and crude oil, results of future drilling and marketing activity, future production and costs, legislative and regulatory initiatives, electronic, cyber or physical security breaches and other factors detailed herein and in our other Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. See "Risk Factors" in Item 1A of the Form 10-K and subsequent public filings for additional information about these risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially from those indicated.  Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statement, whether as the result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Matt Kerin (281) 589-4642

OPERATING DATA



Quarter Ended
June 30,


Six Months Ended
June 30,


2019


2018


2019


2018

PRODUCTION VOLUMES



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