Ultra Petroleum Gains on Q1 Earnings Beat, Raised Outlook - Analyst Blog
On Apr 30, Ultra Petroleum CorporationUPL reported first-quarter 2015 results. Shares of the company have gained nearly 9% since then due to the earnings beat and increased production guidance.
The natural gas producer reported adjusted earnings of 14 cents per share, easily surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 5 cents per share. Increase in production volumes supported the results.
However, the bottom line was significantly lower than the year-ago quarter adjusted earnings of 89 cents. A substantial fall in realized prices hampered the results.
Total operating revenue of $219.3 million not only missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $242 million but was also substantially below the first-quarter 2014 level of $326.3 million.
Production during the reported quarter increased year over year to 70.4 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) from 57.2 Bcfe. Natural gas volumes - accounting for approximately 92% of the total - increased 21% to 64.7 Bcf. Oil production rose to 951,116 barrels in the reported quarter from 658,049 barrels a year ago.
Ultra Petroleum's average realized price on natural gas (excluding realized gain or loss on commodity derivatives) decreased over 44% to $2.84 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). Also, the average oil price for the reported quarter was $37.34 per barrel, substantially lower than the first-quarter 2014 figure of $83.22 per barrel.
Costs, Expenses & Margins
Total lease operating costs increased 9.6% from the prior-year quarter to approximately $70.9 million. Ultra Petroleum reported all-in costs of $3.29 per Mcfe, 3.8% higher than the comparable quarter last year.
Total operating expenses came in at $189.4 million, reflecting a 22.3% increase from $154.8 million in the year-earlier period.
Ultra Petroleum's adjusted operating cash flow margin came in at 45% compared with 63% in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted net income margin was 8% compared with 43% in the year-ago quarter.
As of Mar 31, 2015, the company had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $34 million and long-term debt of $3.4 billion.
For 2015, production is guided in the 280-290 Bcfe range, up from the earlier guidance of 275-285 Bcfe. The midpoint of the guidance reflects 14% year-over-year growth.
Ultra Petroleum expects total operating cost per Mcfe of $3.21-$3.39 for the second quarter.
The company reiterated full-year capital spending of $460 million.
Currently, Ultra Petroleum carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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