High Arctic Announces Second Quarter Results


    RED DEER, AB, Aug. 14 /CNW/ - High Arctic Energy Services Inc. (TSX: HWO)
(the "Corporation" or "High Arctic") today announced its results for the
second quarter ended June 30, 2008.

    Second Quarter Highlights:

    -   Closed asset sales of $12.2 million during the quarter and negotiated
        additional sales of $12.2 after quarter end for net debt reduction of
        $24.4 million from June 6, 2008 to date.

    -   A $17.9 million increase (102%) in revenue to $35.5 million compared
        to $17.6 million in the quarter ending June 30, 2007.

    -   A $9.3 million increase in EBITDA from negative EBITDA of
        $7.9 million in the quarter ending June 30, 2007 to positive EBITDA
        of $1.4 million in the quarter ending June 30, 2008.

    -   The strategy to diversify the revenue base by expanding into the
        international marketplace enabled the Corporation to overcome some of
        the seasonal weaknesses which occur in the Canadian marketplace
        during the second quarter. In particular, the Papua New Guinea
        business has proven to be very successful and is driving much of the
        growth. As a result, the Corporation's financial performance from
        operations has improved dramatically during the second quarter of
        2008 as compared to the same period in 2007.

    -   Optimal Pressure Drilling Services (a joint venture with
        Schlumberger) contributed $1.7 million in revenue to the Corporation
        during the quarter ended June 30, 2008. The business in Mexico has
        developed somewhat slower than originally projected but is showing
        positive signs for the second half of the year.

    -   The Corporation's Canadian equipment utilization rates were 28.4% for
        the three month period ended June 30, 2008, compared to 21.3% for the
        same period in 2007. These are compared to the Canadian Association
        of Oilfield Drilling Contractors ("CAODC") rig utilization averages
        of 19.2% and 17.1% for the three month periods ended June 30, 2008
        and June 30, 2007, respectively.

    Second Quarter Review

    International revenue increased by $18.5 million (199%) to $27.8 million
for the quarter ended June 30, 2008, as compared to $9.3 million for the
quarter ended June 30, 2007. The increase in international revenue was
primarily attributable to the Corporation's increasing activities in Papua New
    Domestic revenue decreased by $0.6 million to $7.7 million for the
quarter ended June 30, 2008, compared to domestic revenues of $8.3 million for
the quarter ended June 30, 2007. The minor decrease in revenue can be
attributed to a slightly longer spring break up period.
    The growth in revenue during the quarter ended June 30, 2008 reflects the
successful launch of the business in Papua New Guinea. The Corporation has
been operating two heli-portable drilling rigs there since late 2007 and the
month of June saw the successful start to operations of the Cadomin, a
Hydraulic Workover Rig, that was redeployed from the Middle East region.
    The Corporation recorded a net loss of $9.3 million ($0.22 per share) in
the second quarter of 2008 compared to a net loss of $6.0 million ($0.15 per
share) during the same period in 2007. This period in 2007 included future tax
benefits of $6.8 million and, excluding this item, the net loss in 2008
improved by $3.8 million, despite interest and financing costs increasing by
$5 million in 2008.
    On a year-to-date basis, the Corporation's net loss was $11.5 million
($0.27 per share) in 2008 compared to a net loss of $1.0 million ($0.02 per
share) during the same period in 2007. The increased loss in 2008 is
attributable primarily to higher interest and financing costs associated with
increased debt levels. Year-to-date the Corporation had interest and financing
expenses of $13.4 million as compared to $2.4 million in the same period
during 2007. A tax benefit of $6.8 million was also recorded in 2007 as noted
    During the quarter, the Corporation continued to sell excess and
underutilized equipment to pay down its debt obligations. The consolidated
debt of the Corporation was reduced by $12.2 million in the quarter.
Subsequent to the quarter ended June 30, 2008, the Corporation successfully
negotiated the sale of a second RAPAD rig and has now repaid a total of
$24.4 million in debt since June 6, 2008. The net earnings will see the
benefit of the reduced interest expense going forward, together with an
expected reduction in financing fees associated with the debt restructuring.
    The outlook for the Canadian business is positive, as the industry is
showing signs of growth amid optimism driven by higher commodity prices.
However, the industry will continue to be affected by uncertainty associated
with the recent pullback in prices, particularly natural gas, together with
growing evidence of economic slowdowns in the USA and other major markets.
    "We are very pleased with the Corporation's performance this quarter as
we continue to focus on service quality and profitability in our three core
operating areas", said Jed Wood, President and Chief Executive Officer of the
Corporation. "The Corporation will continue to focus on bringing its debt
levels down and shutting down unprofitable activities. Growth in the near term
is expected to primarily come from Papua New Guinea and Mexico, as both areas
are being driven by oil rather than natural gas."
    The Financial Statements and Management Discussion and Analysis dated
August 13, 2008 can be viewed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under High Arctic
Energy Services Inc.

    Stock Appreciation Rights Plan

    Further to the Corporation's press release on June 10, 2008, the Board of
Directors has now adopted a Stock Appreciation Rights Plan (the "SAR Plan") to
motivate and retain the current directors, officers and employees of the
Corporation (the "Eligible Participants"). Under the terms of the SAR Plan,
the Corporation may grant stock appreciation rights ("SARs") to the Eligible
Participants that entitle them to receive a cash payment based on the
appreciation in value of the Corporation's common shares. The President and
CEO of the Corporation has elected not to participate in the SAR Plan. Subject
to receiving final approval from the Corporation's lenders, the Board of
Directors has conditionally awarded an aggregate of 5,352,000 SARs at an
initial price of $0.75 per SAR. A complete copy of the SAR Plan will be filed
under the Corporation's profile at www.sedar.com.

    Non-GAAP Measure

    EBITDA (being earnings before the deduction of depreciation,
amortization, interest expense or income taxes) is not a recognized measure
under GAAP. Management believes that, in addition to net earnings, EBITDA is a
useful supplemental measure of the Corporation's performance prior to
consideration of how operations are financed or how results are taxed.
Investors are cautioned that this should not be construed as an alternative to
net earnings determined in accordance with GAAP as an indicator of the
Corporation's performance. The Corporation's method of calculating EBITDA may
differ from the methods used by other issuers and, accordingly, it may not be
comparable to similarly titled measures used by other issuers.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This news release may contain forward-looking statements relating to
expected future events and financial and operating results of the Corporation
that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially
from management expectations as projected in such forward-looking statements
for a variety of reasons, including market and general economic conditions and
the risks and uncertainties detailed in the Corporation's Management
Discussion and Analysis for the three months ended June 30, 2008 and in the
Corporation's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2007,
all found on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). Due to the potential impact of these
factors, the Corporation disclaims any intention or obligation to update or
revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law.

    About High Arctic

    The Corporation, through its subsidiaries, is a global provider of
specialized oilfield equipment and services, including drilling, completion
and workover operations. Based in Red Deer, High Arctic has domestic
operations in Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
International operations are currently active in the Middle East region, Asia
and Mexico.

    The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the
    adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

    %SEDAR: 00025582E

For further information:

For further information: Morley Myden, Chief Financial Officer, High
Arctic Energy Services Inc., Tel: (403) 340-9825, morley.myden@haes.ca

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High Arctic Energy Services Inc.

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