Petrofac News 1700X397
16 December 2020

Petrofac Limited - Trading update 16 December 2020

Petrofac issues the following pre-close trading update for the year ending 31 December 2020.

  • Trading in line with expectations for 2020 in a difficult environment
  • Challenging market conditions mitigated by swift actions to protect margins and conserve cash
  • New order intake (1) of US$1.4 billion in the year to date reflects broader industry dynamics
  • Liquidity of c.US$1.0 billion at 30 November 2020
  • Taking additional measures to increase 2021 cost saving target to c.US$250 million (2)

Ayman Asfari, Petrofac’s Group Chief Executive, commented:

The COVID-19 pandemic and collapse in oil prices have had a material impact on our industry in 2020. Notwithstanding these unprecedented challenges, we have continued to deliver for clients whilst doing everything within our control to protect the health and wellbeing of our people. We have also taken decisive action to protect our balance sheet, liquidity and the long-term health of the business. All these actions have protected margins and cash flow, and the Group is trading in line with expectations as we approach the year end.

Of course, the near-term economic outlook remains unclear. Clients are delaying awards and adopting tough commercial positions. In this environment, our strategic priorities are clear. We are focused on conserving cash, cutting costs and rebuilding backlog, while delivering operational excellence. In the very near term, we are taking additional measures to reduce costs further in 2021 while preserving our core capability. These measures - together with a strong bidding pipeline, our long-established position in attractive markets, our track record for delivery and a sharp focus on competitiveness - will position us well for opportunities when the market recovers.

It has been my privilege to grow Petrofac into a leading international service provider to the energy industry over the last 30 years, but I am delighted to be handing over to a highly capable team led by Sami Iskander on 1st January. I look forward to the next phase of the Company’s evolution under Sami’s stewardship.”

Sami Iskander will present the results for the 12 months ended 2020 and discuss the outlook for 2021 at the Group’s full year results, currently scheduled for 24 February 2021.

Group trading

Financial performance in the second half of 2020 has continued to be impacted by COVID-19. In addition, lower oil prices coupled with the uncertain near-term outlook have resulted in a wide-ranging delay in the award of new projects across the industry as well as in a more challenging commercial backdrop. As a result, management continues to expect to report lower Group revenue of approximately US$4.0 billion and full-year profitability materially lower than in 2019. The Group also remains on track to reduce gross overhead and project support costs by at least US$125 million in 2020 (2).

Looking forward, it remains unclear how long business activity in our industry will be impacted by market conditions. Low order intake over recent years will result in a decline in revenue next year. The Group has therefore announced a further set of measures to right-size the organisation. These will result in total estimated gross savings of US$250 million in 2021, which will seek to protect the business from lower revenues and ongoing pressures on margins. These actions will also create a leaner, more competitive business whilst preserving our core capabilities.

Engineering & Construction (E&C)

Full year E&C revenues are expected to be around US$3.0 billion, driven by a decline in project activity, COVID-19 related project delays and lower variation orders. Swift management action to reduce costs and lower tax has partly mitigated the decline in full year margin caused by COVID-19 related cost increases, changes in project mix and the recognition of losses on a small number of contracts.

Year to date we have secured new orders worth US$0.6 billion in E&C (2019: US$2.1 billion), comprising the EPC contract for the Seagreen offshore wind project and net variation orders. Our bidding pipeline remains strong, including more than US$8.0 billion tendered on projects in the second half of this year, which have not yet been awarded.

Engineering & Production Services (EPS)

EPS’ financial performance in the year has benefitted from strong order intake and lower overhead costs, which has helped mitigate the impact of weaker market conditions. Full year revenue is expected to be broadly comparable to the prior year, with growth in Projects largely offsetting lower activity from Operations. In addition, the expected year-on-year decline in contract margins and contribution from associates (3) has been partly mitigated by overhead cost reductions and lower tax.

We have secured US$0.8 billion of awards and extensions in the year to date (2019 US$1.0 billion), increasing backlog despite tightening market conditions. Most notably, EPS continued to secure new energies opportunities with the award of an engineering and project management support contract for the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage project in the UK, as well as the award of a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) contract for the Arrowsmith project, which may become one of Australia’s largest commercial scale green hydrogen complexes.

Integrated Energy Services (IES)

IES’ full year revenue in 2020 is expected to be materially lower, reflecting the fall in commodity prices, lower equity production and lower cost recovery in Mexico. Average realised oil price (4) in 2020 has fallen by 42% to US$39/boe (2019: US$67/boe). Equity production is expected to be approximately 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in 2020 (2019: 2.1 mmboe), largely due to the completion of the sale of the Group’s remaining 51% interest in its Mexico assets on 3 November 2020. The expected net loss (3) in 2020 has been partly mitigated by reductions in operating and overhead cost savings, as well as lower interest, tax and depreciation.

Order backlog

Group order backlog (5) was US$5.1 billion on 30 November 2020:

30 November 202031 December 2019
US$ billionUS$ billion
Engineering & Construction3.45.7
Engineering & Production Services1.71.7

Looking ahead, the Group currently has US$3.0 billion of secured revenue for 2021, comprising US$2.2 billion in E&C and US$0.8 billion in EPS. In addition, the Group has a pipeline of around US$42 billion of bids scheduled for award by the end of 2021, comprising around US$31 billion of E&C opportunities and around US$11 billion of EPS opportunities. Approximately 11% of the Group’s bidding pipeline consists of new energies opportunities.

Financial position

Net debt (6) was US$272 million as at 30 November 2020 (30 June 2020: US$29 million net debt) reflecting the expected working capital outflow and lower proceeds from the disposal of the Group’s remaining interest in its Mexico assets. Liquidity was approximately US$1.0 billion at 30 November 2020 (7) (30 June 2020: US$1.2 billion). Year to date, the Group has secured US$250 million in additional liquidity, including a US$50 million three-year term loan in November, and we are in discussions with lenders to complete the exercise to pre-fund 2021 maturities.

Cost saving initiatives, the suspension of dividend payments and a reduction in capital investment has conserved approximately US$275 million of cash flow in the year. In addition, we have received US$140 million in gross proceeds from the sale of non-core assets in 2020, following the accelerated collection of an element of deferred consideration from the Greater Stella Area disposal and completion of the sale of the Group’s remaining 51% interest in its Mexican operations. These actions have strengthened the balance sheet, reduced capital intensity and best position us for recovery.

Conference call

Alastair Cochran, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for analysts and investors at 8am today.

Registration and access to the call for listen-only participants is available at the following link:


(1) New order intake comprises new contract awards and extensions, net variation orders and the rolling increment attributable to EPS contracts which extend beyond five years.

(2) In accordance with IFRS 15, the benefit of project support cost savings for E&C are spread over the life of the relevant contracts.

(3) Associate income from the Group’s investment in PetroFirst Infrastructure Limited entities was reclassified from IES to EPS with effect from 1 January 2020. Prior year comparables have been restated.

(4) Average net realised price is net of royalties and hedging gains or losses. It is based on sales volumes, which may differ from production due to under/over-lifting in the period.

(5) Backlog consists of: the estimated revenue attributable to the uncompleted portion of Engineering & Construction division projects; and, for the Engineering & Production Services division, the estimated revenue attributable to the lesser of the remaining term of the contract and five years.

(6) Net debt comprises interest-bearing loans and borrowings less cash and short-term deposits (i.e. excludes IFRS 16 lease liabilities).

(7) Gross liquidity of US$1.0 billion consisted of US$0.6 billion of gross cash and US$0.4 billion of undrawn committed facilities.