UPDATE 2-RPC Inc posts narrower-than-expected Q4 loss

* Q4 loss $0.05/shr vs est loss $0.06/shr

* Q4 rev down 33 pct to $152.4 mln

* Starts seeing firmer pricing for services in some areas

* 2010 capex to remain at 2009 levels of $67.8 mln
(Adds conference call details, analyst comment, background,
updates share movement)

By Arundhati Ramanathan

BANGALORE, Jan 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Oilfield services company RPC
Inc (RES.N: ) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss,
helped by the cost reduction measures it had taken last July,
and said pricing for its services has begun to stabilize.

“The rig count increases thus far in 2010, including the
latest sequential increase along with higher utilization of our
equipment and personnel and firmer pricing in selected markets
indicate to us that the oilfield has started a gradual but
steady up cycle,” Chief Executive Richard Hubbell said in a
conference call.

Shares of the Atlanta-based company, which fell as low as 2
percent to $12.05, recouped their losses to trade up 2 percent
to $12.25 Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are still concerned about the weakness in the price of
natural gas and the large amount of oilfield equipment
operating in the market, which we believe will limit pricing
increases for our services, at least in the near term,” Hubbell
said.

Rising rig counts and imports of liquefied gas are likely to
push up supplies in an already well-supplied market if natural
gas prices remain in the $5.50 to $6 range. [ID:nN26113343]

But the company added that its first quarter looks better
for pricing than the fourth-quarter levels.

Morgan Keegan & Co analyst Matthew Beeby said, “Their
commentary on pricing was more on pricing firmness, which
suggests it’s not going lower but not going higher either, any
time. They may possibly see a pick-up in the end of (the first)
quarter, and an improvement in the second quarter.”

NARROWER-THAN-EXPECTED Q4 LOSS

The company’s net loss for the fourth quarter was $5.2
million, or 5 cents a share, compared with earnings of $20.4
million, or 21 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter

Revenue fell 33 percent to $152.4 million due to lower
pricing for its services coupled with lower utilization of its
equipment and personnel.

Analysts on an average were looking for a loss of 6 cents a
share, before items, on revenue of $144.6 million, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Selling, general and administrative expenses fell by 20.9
percent in the fourth quarter to $23.9 million due to lower
incentive and employment costs.

In late July, the company had announced that it cut its
workforce by 18 percent, or about 400 jobs, during the first
half of 2009, with majority of job cuts taking place in the
second quarter.

Stock Trading

(Reporting by Arundhati Ramanathan in Bangalore; Editing by
Aradhana Aravindan)

UPDATE 2-RPC Inc posts narrower-than-expected Q4 loss