Shares of Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: UPL) slumped on Wednesday and were down more than 13% at 2:45 p.m. EDT, after the company posted mixed second-quarter results.
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On the plus side, Ultra Petroleum recorded $51 million, or $0.28 per share, of adjusted net income, which on an absolute basis was an improvement from the year-ago quarter, when it recorded $37.9 million of adjusted net income. That said, per-share earnings fell from the $0.47 per share recorded last year, because of a massive increase in shares outstanding due to the company's bankruptcy restructuring. Furthermore, the company missed analysts' expectations by $0.10 per share.
Meanwhile, the company noted that rig-delivery delays in the second and third quarters forced the company to redirect some of its money elsewhere. As a result, it expects production to be in the range of 280 to 290 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) this year, which is below its initial 290 to 300 Bcfe projection and not much higher than the 281.7 Bcfe it produced last year.
That said, it's worth noting that Ultra Petroleum wasn't the only driller to experience unforeseen drilling delays this quarter. Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD) also pointed out that this issue impacted its growth forecast. Because of that, Pioneer Natural Resources will defer the completion of 30 wells until next year, resulting in a $100 million spending decrease. However, instead of following in Pioneer's footsteps and cutting spending, Ultra chose to roll its capital savings into the acquisition of 9,000 additional acres for its core position in Wyoming.
Ultra Petroleum is still trying to get back on its feet after plunging into bankruptcy during the recent market downturn. While it stumbled a bit in the second quarter, the company believes it can deliver 20% production growth starting next year. That said, it remains a high-risk bet on rising gas prices, so it's still quite a gamble even after today's sell-off.
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