With oil prices rising and domestic production exploding, you would think any oil field services company would be a good investment, wouldn't you?
Not if someone put you into Weatherford International (WFT).
What's going on? Analyzer called "internal control issues" back in 2011. That's shorthand for management sucks. It reported $500 million in tax errors last year and brushed it off as "an honest mistake," although it then got a new chief financial officer.
But management is very firmly entrenched. Bernard J. Duroc-Danner rules as chairman, president, CEO and absolute monarch, having been in place since 1988. For running the company onto the rocks he drew a salary of over $17 million, including over 2 million stock options. SEC documents show he regularly cashes out those options.
Jim Cramer calls this one of the worst-run oil field service companies in the world. Some take that as a buy signal but in this case he's right.
As Jeff Williams noted for us last month, this is a company that is piling up debt. For every $1 in shareholder equity, there's $1.22 in debt, he writes, and this has steadily been increasing.
While its peers in the oilfield business like Schlumberger (SLB), Baker Hughes (BHI) and Halliburton (HAL) have been doubling and tripling investors' money, Weatherford has been leaking it, yet there is no accountability at the top for this.
Want to know why so few individual investors trust the market? WFT is Exhibit A.