PETALING JAYA: As demand for jack-up drilling rigs locally expected to remain flattish in the near-term, Velesto Energy Bhd may have to look outside Malaysia to replenish its pipeline of jobs, says Kenanga Research.
“According to Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PETRONAS) latest activity outlook, the demand for jack-up drilling rigs locally is expected to remain flattish for the next two years. This does not augur well for Velesto in the local market. Hence, we believe it is crucial for Velesto to raise its game outside of Malaysia to reduce its dependence on local PETRONAS jobs,” added the research firm.
Velesto provides drilling and oilfield services for the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. Kenanga Research noted that the group’s first half of financial year 2022 (1H22) core net loss of RM89mil had already exceeded its full-year net loss forecast of RM63mil and the consensus of RM11mil. The variance against its forecast came largely from poor rig utilisation and elevated operating expenses.,
However, the research firm said 1H22 core net loss did narrow by 34% from a year ago thanks to an improved rig utilisation of 40% versus 33% previously. Also helping, was a lower finance cost after it pared down its debts significantly with insurance claims from the Naga 7 rig. UOB Kay Hian (UOBKH) Research said Velesto’s balance sheet can weather challenges for at least one year.
“Cash dipped quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) from RM296mil to RM230mil, but still well within its debt service coverage ratio limits. Velesto continued to focus on paring down loans at RM573mil, with loan repayments up to RM83mil made in 1HFY22.
“Capex also surged from RM9mil to RM60mil q-o-q for the offline capability installation of two rigs,” it said. UOBKH Research said it expects a stronger second half performance from the group based on its unchanged 2022 utilisation of 59%.