Petrofac announces upbeat results

Suspended CEO set to return as firm’s order book grows.

UK based Petrofac has seen its debt lower and order book increase.
UK based Petrofac has seen its debt lower and order book increase.

Oilfield services outfit Petrofac, with operational centres in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has published better-than-expected earnings and has stated its CEO Ayman Asfari is to resume full duties with immediate effect, reported Reuters.

Petrofac stated it had concluded restrictions placed on Asfari in May of last year were no longer appropriate.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) began an investigation in May 2017 into the activities of Petrofac in relation to an investigation into Monaco-based Unaoil regarding suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Last month, the company said its chairman and executive directors would be interviewed by the SFO.

"We expect the market to take positively the resumption of duties from the CEO ... The market may perceive this as reflecting positively on the SFO investigation outcome," Morgan Stanley analyst Robert Pulleyn said in a note to the Reuters news agency.

Petrofac also said COO Marwan Chedid had stepped aside and would provide advisory services for a transitional period. The company also said it intends to leave the deep-water business and it is to take an impairment charge of $176mn related to its offshore construction vessel JDS6000.

At the end of 2018, Petrofac said it had experienced an improvement in orders and it continued to see a healthy rate of tendering activity in its main markets.

The firm, which designs, builds, operates and maintains oil and gas facilities, said its order book had reached $5.2bn, compared with $1.9bn at the same time last year.

Petrofac announced its net debt was approximately $600mn at the end of 2017, much lower than the $850mn it had predicted in December.

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