Basic Energy expects to divest pumping services assets to focus on core business

Fort Worth-based Basic Energy Services Inc. (OTCQX: BASX) on Dec. 12 announced a plan to divest of its pumping services assets (not inclusive of coiled tubing) in multiple transactions with expected proceeds of approximately $30 million to $45 million.

Despite the recent repositioning and restructuring in the pumping business, activity and pricing remain difficult, inhibiting the potential for positive free cash flow in the near- to medium-term, according to the company. This divestiture is designed to bolster the company’s core remaining production-focused businesses of well servicing and water logistics. Furthermore, this non-core divestiture will fund the projected 2020 and 2021 capital budget of Agua Libre Midstream, the company’s rapidly growing, high return-on-assets business.

Given current market conditions, the company said it plans to pivot away from completion-centric pumping services and toward its core production businesses. Basic plans to complete all work currently in-process, after which the company will cease its pumping and pumping-related services. Real estate and equipment are expected to be sold in multiple transactions during Q4 2019 and Q1 2020. Basic’s coiled tubing business remains highly complementary to its well servicing operations and is not expected to be impacted by these divestitures.

“While the overall energy service market remains highly competitive, we continue to see high value potential in our Agua Libre Midstream subsidiary; this business continues to outperform in this very challenging market,” said Roe Patterson, president and CEO. “With additional disposal barrels from 2019 growth capital expenditures, we expect the midstream business to contribute significantly to incremental margins in 2020. In order to focus our capital resources most effectively to benefit free cash flow, we made the decision to cease pumping operations and divest of all non-core equipment and real estate. Given current market conditions and appetite for pumping and ancillary equipment, we believe our plan limits execution risk and allows for greater proceeds than under a going-concern valuation and sale scenario.”

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Patterson said that in the first half of 2020, the company did not expect the sale of pumping assets to negatively impact EBITDA, reflecting just how difficult the market has become.

He said that, due to a lower-capital intensity asset base, we expect our cash balance to be approximately $5 million higher, excluding proceeds from the pumping asset sales, at the end of the second quarter of 2020.

“Furthermore, in conjunction with this capital redeployment plan, we expect to immediately cut general and administrative expenses by approximately $14 million on an annualized basis, reaching an annual total company run-rate of approximately $100 million by the second quarter of 2020,” Patterson said. “Without a significant recovery in crude prices, we expect 2020 revenues in the Well Servicing segment and remaining Completions & Remedial Services segment (which includes coiled tubing, snubbing, and rental and fishing tools) to be flat compared to 2019, with our Water Logistics segment (which includes Agua Libre Midstream and fluid services) revenues to grow 5% to 10% year-over-year, with growth accelerating as our newer midstream projects come online with enhanced contribution margins for the segment.”