Foraco International announces 2009 first quarter results



    
    /NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWS WIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE
    UNITED STATES/
    

    TORONTO and MARSEILLES, France, May 12 /CNW/ - Foraco International SA
(TSX: FAR) (the "Company" or "Foraco"), a leading global provider of
diversified drilling services, today announced its unaudited financial results
for the three-month period ended March 31, 2009. All figures are reported in
Euros ((euro)), unless otherwise indicated.

    
    Q1 2009 Highlights:

    -   Revenue totaled (euro)22.4 million compared to (euro)22.7 million
        in Q1 2008
    -   Gross profit (including depreciation) was stable at (euro)6.5
        million. Gross profit as a percentage of revenue increased to 29.0%
        in Q1 2009 up from 28.5% in Q1 2008
    -   Net earnings increased slightly to (euro)2.72 million (12.1% of
        revenue), or (euro)0.05 per share compared to (euro)2.70 million
        (11.9% of revenue) or (euro)0.04 per share in Q1 2008
    -   Secured (euro)10.0 million drilling services contract in
        northwestern Russia with OAO Arkhangelskoe Geologodobychnoe
        Predpriyatie ("AGD"), a Russian company involved in diamond
        exploration and a wholly-owned subsidiary of OAO LUKOIL
    -   Subsequent to quarter end, on April 14, 2009, Foraco entered the
        Australian drilling services market with the acquisition of majority
        interest in Perth-based Mosslake Drilling Services Pty Ltd
        ("Mosslake")
    

    "Despite the depressed economic environment since the second half of
2008, the first quarter of 2009 proved to be excellent for Foraco. Although
certain customer projects continued to be postponed or cancelled in our Mining
& Energy segment during the period, we were able to mitigate most of the
impact, and we experienced only a slight decline in revenue in the first
quarter 2009, compared to the same quarter last year, a record in our history.
In January 2009, we secured a significant new drilling services contract in
Russia representing an expected (euro)10.0 million in revenue for 2009.
Moreover, the acquisition of Mosslake in April 2009 marks our entry into
Australia, one of the most active mining markets in the world, and further
enhances our capability to serve our customers throughout the entire
Australasian region," said Daniel Simoncini, Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of Foraco. "Our unique capability to offer different types of drilling
techniques, such as diamond drilling, large diameter bulk sampling and water
wells is a powerful advantage to better weather the current economic
situation."
    "In addition to our high level of business activity, we are pleased to
report strong operational performance. As a percentage of revenue, our gross
profit, in which we include equipment depreciation expense, improved slightly
to 29.0% for the first quarter of 2009, compared to 28.5% in the same quarter
last year," said Jean-Pierre Charmensat, Vice-CEO and Chief Financial Officer
of Foraco. "We continue to carefully monitor our operations and remain
attentive to the allocation of our resources where the best risk-to-benefit
ratio exists. We have a strong financial position with (euro)13.1 million in
cash and cash equivalents as at quarter end, while our undrawn short term
credit facilities available amount to (euro)12.2 million. After the
acquisition of Mosslake our financial structure will remain solid, providing
us with the financial flexibility to pursue further consolidation
opportunities."

    Financial Results

    Foraco's financial statements are prepared in accordance with
International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"), rather than Canadian
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Canadian "GAAP"), and as such may
not be directly comparable to the financial statements of other Canadian
issuers.

    
    Revenue

                                     Three-month                 Three-month
                                     -----------                 -----------
                                    period ended                period ended
    (In thousands of (euro))        ------------                ------------
    (unaudited)                   March 31, 2009   % change   March 31, 2008
                                  --------------   --------   --------------

    Reporting segment
    -----------------
    Mining & Energy ..............        15,665        -5%           16,415
    Water, Environmental &
     Infrastructure ..............         6,710         7%            6,293
                                          ------       -----          ------
    Total revenue ................        22,375        -1%           22,709
                                          ------       -----          ------
                                          ------       -----          ------

    Geographical region
    -------------------
    Africa .......................        11,902        12%           10,633
    Europe .......................         2,589         8%            2,395
    Asia Pacific .................         1,539        27%            1,212
    Americas .....................         6,345       -25%            8,469
                                          ------       -----          ------
    Total revenue ................        22,375        -1%           22,709
                                          ------       -----          ------
                                          ------       -----          ------
    

    For the three-month period ended March 31, 2009 ("Q1 2009"), revenue
totaled (euro)22.4 million compared to (euro)22.7 million for the three-month
period ended March 31, 2008 ("Q1 2008"). The Company's 5.0% revenue decrease
in the Mining & Energy ("Mining") segment in Q1 2009 is a result of the
general slowdown in the industry. In the Water, Environmental & Infrastructure
("Water") segment, revenue increased by 6.6% to (euro)6.7 million in Q1 2009
compared to (euro)6.3 million in Q1 2008.
    Revenue in the Americas decreased by 25.1% in Q1 2009 due to the
cancellation of certain mining projects. Revenue in Europe increased by 8.1%
in Q1 2009 primarily as a result of a major new project in northwestern
Russia. Revenue in Africa increased by 11.9% or (euro)1.3 million in Q1 2009.
Revenue growth in Africa was achieved in both the Mining and Water segments,
with increases of (euro)0.7 million and (euro)0.6 million, respectively.

    
    Gross Profit

                                     Three-month                 Three-month
                                     -----------                 -----------
                                    period ended                period ended
    (In thousands of (euro))        ------------                ------------
    (unaudited)                   March 31, 2009   % change   March 31, 2008
                                  --------------   --------   --------------
    Reporting segment
    -----------------
    Mining & Energy ..............         4,531         0%            4,547
    Water, Environmental &
     Infrastructure ..............         1,959         1%            1,935
                                           -----         --            -----
    Total operating profit .......         6,490         0%            6,482
                                           -----         --            -----
                                           -----         --            -----

    Gross profit (including depreciation) was stable at (euro)6.5 million in
Q1 2009 compared to Q1 2008. The Company continues to experience a high level
of business activity and strong operational performance on projects. As a
percentage of revenue, gross profit increased from 28.5% in Q1 2008 to 29.0%
in Q1 2009.

    Operating Expenses (excluding cost of sales)


                                     Three-month                 Three-month
                                     -----------                 -----------
                                    period ended                period ended
    (In thousands of (euro))        ------------                ------------
    (unaudited)                   March 31, 2009   % change   March 31, 2008
                                  --------------   --------   --------------

    Selling and marketing
     expenses ....................           750         6%              704
    General and administrative
     expenses ....................         1,780         5%            1,690
    Other (income) and
     expense, net ................          (120)       N/S              (17)
                                           ------       ---            ------
    Total ........................         2,410          -            2,377
                                           ------       ---            ------
                                           ------       ---            ------

    Operating expenses (excluding cost of sales) were stable at (euro)2.4
million in Q1 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.

    Operating Profit


                                     Three-month                 Three-month
                                     -----------                 -----------
                                    period ended                period ended
    (In thousands of (euro))        ------------                ------------
    (unaudited)                   March 31, 2009   % change   March 31, 2008
                                  --------------   --------   --------------
    Reporting segment
    -----------------
    Mining & Energy ..............         2,844          -            2,828
    Water, Environmental &
     Infrastructure ..............         1,236          -            1,277
                                           -----        ---            -----
    Total operating profit .......         4,080          -            4,105
                                           -----        ---            -----
                                           -----        ---            -----
    

    Operating profit in Q1 2009 was stable at (euro) 4.1 million. As a
percentage of revenue, operating profit increased slightly from 18.1% in Q1
2008 to 18.2% in Q1 2009.
    Net earnings in Q1 2009 increased slightly to (euro) 2.72 million or
(euro) 0.05 per share (basic and diluted) compared to (euro) 2.70 million or
(euro) 0.04 per share (basic and diluted) in Q1 2008.

    Balance Sheet

    As at March 31, 2009, cash and cash equivalents totaled (euro)13.1
million compared to (euro)14.1 million as at December 31, 2008. Cash and cash
equivalents are mainly comprised of (euro)10.9 million of short-term deposits
denominated in (euro) and held at top-tier European financial institutions. As
at March 31, 2009, total financial debt amounted to (euro)5.6 million
((euro)4.7 million at December 31, 2008). The Company had available short-term
credit facilities of (euro)14.9 million as at March 31, 2009, ((euro)14.9
million as at December 31, 2008).

    Currency and Exchange Rate

    The average exchange rate between (euro) and Canadian dollar ("C$") for
the three-month period ended March 31, 2009 was 1.62. As at, March 31, 2009,
the closing (euro) / C$ rate was 1.67.
    During the three-month period ended March 31, 2009, the Company generated
71% of its revenue in (euro) compared to 63% of its revenue in (euro) for the
three-month period ended March 31, 2008. The majority of the remaining revenue
was generated in C$.

    Dividend

    Foraco is pleased to announce that at the Annual General Meeting of the
Company's shareholders held on May 11, 2009 in Marseille, France, shareholders
approved, among other matters, the payment of a dividend in the amount of
(euro)0.014 per share. The dividend will be paid on July 2, 2009 to
shareholders of record as at June 11, 2009.
    Foraco's unaudited Financial Statements and Management's Discussion &
Analysis ("MD&A"), for the three-month period ended March 31, 2009, are
available via Foraco's website at www.foraco.com.

    Notice of Conference Call and Webcast

    Management of Foraco will host a conference call today, Tuesday, May 12,
2009, at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss its 2009 first quarter financial results.
You can join the call by dialing 1-800-595-8550 or 416-644-3422. Please call
in 15 minutes prior to the call to secure a line. You will be put on hold
until the conference call begins. A live audio webcast of the conference call
will also be available through www.foraco.com. Please connect at least 15
minutes prior to the conference call to ensure adequate time for any software
download that may be needed to hear the webcast.
    An archived replay of the webcast will be available for 90 days. A taped
replay of the conference call will also be available until Tuesday, May 19,
2009 at midnight by calling 1-877-289-8525 or 416-640-1917, reference number
21304487 followed by the number sign.

    
    To view Foraco's Q1 2009 MD&A, financial statements and notes, please
click here:
    http://files.newswire.ca/476/ForacoMDAFinancials.pdf

    About Foraco
    

    Foraco (TSX: FAR) is a worldwide drilling service provider headquartered
in Marseille, France. The Company provides a diverse range of drilling
services to the minerals, energy, water, environmental and infrastructure
sectors. The Company currently operates 114 drilling rigs, with a presence in
18 countries across five continents. For more information about Foraco, visit
www.foraco.com.

    Caution concerning forward-looking statements

    This document may contain "forward-looking statements" and
"forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities
laws. These statements and information include estimates, forecasts,
information and statements as to management's expectations with respect to,
among other things, the future financial or operating performance of the
Company and capital and operating expenditures. Often, but not always,
forward-looking statements and information can be identified by the use of
words such as "may", "will", "should", "plans", "expects", "intends",
"anticipates", "believes", "budget", and "scheduled" or the negative thereof
or variations thereon or similar terminology. Forward-looking statements and
information are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions
that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to
significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and
contingencies. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements
and information are not guarantees and there can be no assurance that such
statements and information will prove to be accurate and actual results and
future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such
statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from the Company's expectations are disclosed under the heading
"Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 31, 2009,
which is filed with Canadian regulators on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). The Company
expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any
forward-looking statements and information whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise. All written and oral forward-looking
statements and information attributable to Foraco or persons acting on our
behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary
statements.

    %SEDAR: 00025480E




For further information:

For further information: Bruce Wigle, Investor Relations, The Equicom
Group, T: (416) 815-0700 or 1-800-385-5451, ext. 228, F: (416) 815-0080, E:
bwigle@equicomgroup.com


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