Edgen Group posts quarterly loss

An unexpectedly poor first quarter dropped Baton Rouge-based Edgen Group Inc.’s stock Monday to an all-time low of $5.67 per share before the stock recovered to close at $6.26 per share, down 49 cents.

The pipe and industrial products supplier reported a first-quarter loss of $5.4 million, or 27 cents per share. The company said its performance was affected by lower steel prices and contract delays from the fabrication yards that make jack-up rigs, some weather delays for some projects and less business from some pipeline companies.

The energy and infrastructure segment, which supplies pipe, valves and components to refineries and petrochemical plants, dropped 28 percent to $201.2 million. The oil country tubular goods segment, which supplies pipe to drilling companies, saw sales fall 10 percent to $205.2 million.

The company reported a first-quarter profit of $4.1 million a year ago. Per-share figures were not available because Edgen Group did not go public until May 2, 2012.

Lower steel prices and delays in contract awards, which began in the fourth quarter of 2012, and customer purchasing decisions affected the energy and infrastructure business, Edgen Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan O’Leary said during a conference call with stock analysts and investors. The tubular goods business also has been hampered by declining rig counts and lower prices.

However, O’Leary said the tubular goods performed well despite a challenging environment.

The U.S. rig count dropped 12 percent during the first quarter, but Edgen’s tubular goods volume was only down 4 percent, he said. Edgen has been able to gain market share in a declining market.

O’Leary said drilling companies have delayed awarding contracts for new-generation jack-up rigs.

Those delays meant fabrication yards had more capacity than usual, which allowed the drillers to pit the fabrication companies against each other, O’Leary said. Now that the drillers are moving ahead with the rigs, the yards are returning to their normal activity levels, and Edgen’s outlook on the projects is improving.

However, as a result of the delays and uncertainty surrounding its customers’ purchasing decisions, Edgen is withdrawing its previous earnings forecast for 2013, he said. The company expects to adjust those projections after a clearer picture emerges of customers’ anticipated spending.

In March, Edgen had predicted 2013 sales in the range of $2 billion to $2.2 billion. Energy and infrastructure sales were expected at $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, while tubular goods sales were forecast at $800 million to $900 million.

Edgen’s first-quarter results included $2.9 million in after-tax charges, with $1.4 million of that for prepaying debt. Without those charges, Edgen would have lost $2.5 million, or 16 cents per share.

Edgen’s first-quarter results fell far short of Wall Street analysts’ projections. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 8 cents per share on revenue of $469.8 million.

Stock analysts have forecast 2013 earnings of $1.02 per share on sales of $2.09 billion.