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Executives

George Economou - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Gilles Bocabarteille - Senior Vice President Operations and Technical

Anthony C. Argyropoulos - Managing Director of Investment Banking Group

Michael Nielsen - Vice President of Marketing and Contracts

Analysts

Collin Gerry - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Gregory Lewis - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Darren T. Hicks - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Michael W. Urban - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Oliver Corlett

Andreas Stubsrud - Pareto Securities AS, Research Division

Ocean Rig UDW (ORIG) Q4 2013 Earnings Call February 19, 2014 8:00 AM ET

Operator

Thank you for standing by, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Ocean Rig conference call on the fourth quarter 2013 financial results. We have with us Mr. George Economou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Mr. Anthony Argyropoulos, Capital Markets Special Adviser to CEO. [Operator Instructions] I must advise you that this conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Matters discussed in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect current views with respect to future events and financial performance and may include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts. Please take a moment to read the Safe Harbor statement on Page 2 of the slide presentation. Risks and uncertainties are further described in the report filed by Ocean Rig with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

And I'll now pass the floor to one of your speakers today, Mr. Economou. Please go ahead, sir.

George Economou

Thank you, operator, and good morning, everybody, and thank you for participating in Ocean Rig's fourth quarter earnings conference Call. I'm starting with Slide 2.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, Ocean Rig posted a U.S. GAAP net income of $39.7 million or 39 -- or $0.30 per share. Our fleet's strong operating performance during the quarter resulted in net revenue from drilling contracts of approximately $345 million. Our EBITDA for the quarter was $164 million. For our 2013 operations, we posted a U.S. GAAP net income of $63.3 million or $0.48 per share.

Included in the results are approximately $61 million of net noncash write-offs related to the early repayment of the Nordea and Deutsche Bank facilities in July of last year. Excluding these items, our adjusted net income was approximately $124.4 million or $0.94 per share.

Finally, our net revenue for the year was approximately $1.2 billion and our EBITDA was $546 million.

Slide 3. I would like to take the opportunity to comment on some recent highlights. Our corporate focus throughout the year was to increase operating efficiency. I'm very pleased with the 95.8% and 94.7% fleet-wide operating performance for the fourth quarter and full year, respectively.

In late December, we took delivery of the Ocean Rig Skyros, our seventh generation drillship, and we expect to commence drilling operations under the Total contract in Angola by the end of February.

In addition, we expect the delivery of the Ocean Rig Athena in March, and we'll mobilize her to Angola to commence drilling operations under the 3-year ConocoPhillips contract.

In late December, our drillship Ocean Rig Mylos experienced a series of BOP-related issues and ceased drilling under the contract. We expect to have this issue resolved by the end of February and will probably record approximately 50 days of off-hire in the first quarter of 2014.

Earlier this month, we successfully refinanced the short-term tranche of our Term Loan B facility with a fungible add-on to the long-term tranche. The entire $1.9 billion Term Loan B facility will now mature not earlier than the third quarter of 2020.

Finally, we have recently extended the OCR Skyros LOA with an oil major for an additional 60 days. The new LOA includes significant compensation penalties if it is not exercised by our client.

Turning now to Slide 4. As I mentioned earlier, I'm very pleased to announce that during 2013, our ultra-deepwater fleet achieved a 94.7% utilization rate over available drilling days, which exclude mobilization and special survey days. Specifically, our drillships achieved, on average, a 94.8% utilization. Utilization of the drillships was mostly affected by the extraordinary downtime of the Mykonos in Q1, which was related to the industry-wide connector bolts issues.

Operational utilization for our harsh environment semis improved considerably year-on-year, reaching 94.3% in 2013. I remind you that these units underperformed in 2012 due to the frequent change of locations and BOP-related issues.

Although unscheduled rig downtime is an industry fact, we believe that our efforts and focus on operational excellence have been awarded this year and we look forward to delivering similar operational results in 2014.

Moving on to Slide 5. For a brief overview, starting with the bar chart on the left, our revenues have grown in line with the growth in our fleet. In addition, in 2013, we considerably improved our ability to monetize our contracted revenue backlog through a 95% operational utilization. And we expect to continue this trend in the future.

Our contracted revenue backlog is illustrated on the right-hand bar chart. We are in the enviable position to have our fleet fully contracted in 2014, and 72% contracted in 2015, and we expect to significantly increase contract coverage for 2015 and beyond in the next few months.

Recently, there has been some softness in the market as a result of several drilling units coming off-contract and certain newbuildings without contract scheduled for delivery in 2014. We believe that these market conditions will not last for long, due to the overall obsolescence of the offshore drilling fleet and will not be as deep as current market consensus expectations would indicate. In fact, the rates for premium ultra-deepwater unit such as ours remain firm and we expect upcoming contract announcements will provide a clear price point for premium minutes.

Now I turn over the presentation to Gilles to provide you with fourth quarter operational highlights.

Gilles Bocabarteille

Thank you, George. I start from Slide 7. The average terms of our contracts, excluding the short-term contracts for the Eirik Raude and the Ocean Rig Skyros, is 2.6 years or 4.1 years, including our options. Excluding operational periods, we're under a contract for approximately all of 2014, 72% for 2015 and even 38% for 2016. We are in advanced discussions in regard to entering into 2 additional long-term contracts for the Ocean Rig Corcovado and the Ocean Rig Mykonos, which would keep the drillships employed until 2018.

In addition, we are actively bidding the Eirik Raude for our remaining 2015 availability. The rig is tailor-built for the harsh environment ultra-deepwater niche market, where it has a good track record. We are confident the contract will be in place during the first half of 2014.

Furthermore, we have, over the last 3 months, seen an increased interest for the Ocean Rig Santorini from clients in the U.S. Gulf, West Africa and the Black Sea. We expect our backlog to increase significantly as we enter into these new contracts.

Turning to Slide 8. With this slide, we provide again an analysis of our fleet operating performance during the quarter. Included in the slide is a breakdown of the amortization of our deferred revenue that were recognized during these periods.

During the quarter, we had 655 calendar days and we spent 35 days mobilizing the Mylos from Korea to the drilling location in Brazil to commence the Repsol contract. We also spent 11 days mobilizing the Skyros from Korea to Angola, and note that we expect an additional 59 days in Q1 2014 for the Skyros mobilization.

Our fleet available drilling days for the quarter amounted to 609 days. We also experienced some marginal downtime issues, which resulted in a total of 25 off-hire days, as a result of which, we were earning revenue for 584 days. So our fleet-wide operating efficiency rate, that is our revenue earning days over our available drilling days, was 95.8%.

Our actual net revenue from drilling operation during the first quarter was $345.5 million, which includes approximately $26 million in amortized deferred revenues.

We would like to reiterate our expectation and guidance for 2014 of applying 92.5% on available drilling days in order to estimate our future growth revenues, and a further approximately 3% for fees and agent commissions to arrive to net revenues.

Turning to Slide 9. Now moving to operating expenses. On this slide, we highlight our direct and onshore rig operating expenses run rates during the quarter and provide a breakdown of -- on the amortization of our deferred operating expenses that were expensed during the quarter. Our daily direct and onshore rig operating expenses this quarter averaged $192,000 versus $201,000 during the third quarter of this year. This direct and indirect operating expenses exclude amortization of deferred expenses related mainly to mobilization and maintenance CapEx expensed during the period.

Now I turn over the presentation to Anthony to provide you with fourth quarter financial highlights.

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Thank you, Gilles. I start on Slide 10, our income statement to tie all the revenue and operating expense items. During the quarter, we had $319.7 million in drilling revenue and $25.7 million in amortization of deferred revenue as a result of the mobilizations. So our total revenue was $345.5 million.

Our direct and onshore rig operating expenses were $116.7 million, maintenance expenses were $5.1 million and the amortization of deferred expenses, $16.5 million. So during the quarter, against our $345.5 million in total revenues, we had $138.3 million in total rig expenses.

Going forward, as we mentioned, we expect our direct rig operating expenses to average about $200,000 per day fleet-wide. We will also incur an additional $15,000 per day for onshore rig operating expenses and about $50 million per annum for general maintenance expenses, including special items, spare parts and upgrades.

Our depreciation during the quarter was $65.3 million, which increased from the third quarter as it includes our ownership of the Ocean Rig Mylos for the entire quarter, and about 15 days of ownership of the Ocean Rig Skyros.

Our G&A expenses were $41.2 million, while our net interest expense for the quarter was $49.4 million, significantly lower than last quarter, which included noncash write-offs related to the refinancing of the Nordea and Deutsche Bank facilities.

Turning to Slide 11. At the end of December, we had free cash of approximately $605 million. In addition, we had approximately $54 million in restricted cash, which includes minimum liquidity requirements under our bank/ECA facility following the delivery of the Ocean Rig Mylos and Skyros.

Our capital structure at the end of December is robust, as evidenced by a modest 47.8% net debt to capitalization ratio. Our equity market cap is $2.2 billion and our fleet free float approximately $910 million. Our current enterprise value is a mere $5.1 billion, which means we're trading at approximately $640 million per rig.

Turning to Slide 12. We are pleased with the successful refinancing completed this month of the short-term tranche of our Term Loan B facility, with a fungible add-on to the long-term tranche. The entire $1.9 billion Term Loan B facility, as it is right now, will mature not earlier than the third quarter of 2020. In addition, we are planning to refinance our $500 million, 9.5% unsecured notes in late April of this year at their first call, most likely with a new 5- to 7-year note which will further extend our remaining 2016 maturities.

Following the refinancing of our 9.5% notes, our next significant maturity will be our $800 million, 6.5% secured notes, that we will most likely refinance after their first call in October 2015.

As a result of our refinancing activities over the past year, we have diversified our sources of debt, whereas, a mere year ago, only 20% of our debt was comprised of non-bank/ECA facilities. Today, in pro forma term loans, 70% consist of term loans and high-yield debt. We believe the diversification of the composition of our debt to non-amortizing, no maintenance covenant, no restricted cash debt provides us with significantly more financial flexibility. For example, at the same time following the refinancing, as a result of the low mandatory amortization, we free up approximately $400 million in excess cash flow through 2015.

Turning to Slide 13. We have no significant unfunded capital expenditures related to our newbuildings in the immediate future. The 434 -- the $437 million to be paid over the next few months with the delivery of Ocean Rig Athena are financed with $450 million remaining availability under our $1.35 billion bank/ECA facility. We have already paid $311 million for our 2 2015 newbuildings. So remaining capital expenditures for them are $52 million in 2014 that will be easily covered with our cash flow from operations. We expect to fund the remaining $920 million capital expenditure payments in 2015 with the combination of new debt and cash. Our growth has been exceptional starting with 2 units as late as 2010, 6 by the end of 2011, and moving to 9 units with the delivery of our latest newbuilding, the Ocean Rig Athena, and then to 11 units in 2015.

Now I turn over the presentation to Mr. Michael Nielsen to provide you with an industry update.

Michael Nielsen

Thank you, Anthony. Turning to Slide 15. The ultra-deepwater market is expected to temporarily cool off during 2014 and possibly into part of 2015, mainly due to oil companies having taken on sufficient rig time for the next year and due to a slight pushback of field developments due to increase in field development costs. However, this market softness will have limited impact on Ocean Rig due to our significant backlog. Historically, the floater market consisting of midwater, deepwater and ultra-deepwater rigs, has experienced upturn and downturn cycles as illustrated above. Each downturn cycle has had a duration of 12 to 18 months and was followed by an extended upturn period. Most of the oil companies drilling high-profile exploration wells in 2013 were unsuccessful. Therefore, no significant reserves were added. Thus, they are forced to increase spending to achieve a turnaround. In particular, we expect to see a significant increase of exploration drilling in Latin America, spearheaded by Mexico and Brazil. Mexico is expected to approve a transformation of the country's energy sector, which could improve the country's ultra-deepwater rig count from only 4 units to a much larger number in the future. In comparison, about 44 units are presently operating on the U.S. shales.

In Brazil, we expect Petrobras to refocus on more modern and advanced ultra-deepwater units going forward, which will replace older fourth- and fifth-generation deepwater units. In parallel, we see international oil companies will step up exploration and development activities, ensuring much higher rig activities from 2016 and onwards. For these reasons, we believe that this downcycle will be shallow and short-lived.

Turning to Slide 16. Day rates in the ultra-deepwater market remain relatively firm even though at slightly lower levels. We expect day rates to remain at about the same levels in 2014. The relatively high number of ultra-deepwater units currently being altered on sublet terms worldwide is creating additional competition, in particular, for those ultra-deepwater newbuildings being delivered in 2014 without contracts.

In the short term, the demand picture will remain muddy and the average lead time from contract award to startup of drilling programs will be reduced to about 6 months compared to about 24 months 1 year ago. However, shipyard delivery delays of ultra-deepwater newbuildings may positively influence a short-term demand-supply balance. In addition, the overall slowdown in the ordering of ultra-deepwater newbuildings will offset the negative demand-supply trend, while the market will be further strengthened by the oil companies' need to find and replace reserves in 2014 and beyond by accelerating their exploration plans.

Turning to Slide 17. We believe that going forward, it is of imperative importance to provide oil companies with the right drillship for the right project. Oil companies will increasingly try to push the envelope in relation to drilling depths, high-pressure drilling and in terms of geographical areas of operation. Provision of versatile, modern and advanced ultra-deepwater units that can operate in different water depths through demanding long-reach wells and which can be easily moved between different regions will be key factors for success in the futures.

In parallel, oil companies will increasingly focus on improving drilling efficiency and thereby, obtain substantial savings by reducing drilling time per well. Lower development cost will unlock new development prospects and stimulate increased drilling demand in the future.

Finally, we see a continued focus on implementing and enforcing even stricter environmental, health and safety regulations worldwide. As a result, we expect the oil companies will be extremely keen to replace older fourth- and fifth-generation units with modern and advanced ultra-deepwater units, which will provide them with utmost flexibility and efficiency and guarantee regulatory compliance. This will lead to some attrition to take place mainly in the midwater and the deepwater rig fleets, as upgrades will no longer be economically viable.

I now turn the presentation over to Mr. Economou for some closing marks.

George Economou

Thank you, Michael. We now turn to Slide 19. I would like to summarize where the company is today. Ocean Rig is a large global pure-play ultra-deepwater drilling company with premium assets run by an experienced management team. Its massive multibillion-dollar investment is effectively completed. Our focus on containing costs, improving efficiency and new value creation initiatives make this a very exciting time for our current, as well as prospective, shareholders. Our near-term newbuilding capital expenditure's limited and are expected to be covered through various funding sources. With a $5.4 billion contract backlog, we enjoy strong cash flow from a diverse mix of highly credit-worthy counterparties. This cash flow will fund our deleveraging, dividends and moderate growth.

We have now reached the end of our fourth quarter presentation, and I now open the floor for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question from Raymond James comes from the line of Collin Gerry.

Collin Gerry - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

So I guess my first question is, we've kind of talked about maybe an air pocket of softness here on the ultra -- on the floater market. There's, presumably, some speculators out there that built some rigs in the shipyards that might not be making their returns. Would Ocean Rig be willing to make any acquisitions on some newbuilds that are in the shipyards or is it more just kind of focus on the growth plans that you have in-house?

George Economou

No. Categorically, no, we will focus on the plans we have in-house.

Collin Gerry - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then last one. Anthony, I actually missed your cost guidance for 2014, could you repeat that for me?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

The cost guidance is the same that we had before, if you are referring to operating expenses, $200,000, plus $15,000 per day per unit of onshore rig-related expenses.

Operator

Now from Crédit Suisse, you have a question from the line of Gregory Lewis.

Gregory Lewis - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

I guess my first question is for either George or Michael and really, I guess, what I'm trying to figure out is, there's been a lot of chatter in the market that certain tenders that are coming to market require even higher specs than what we see on sort of a traditional newbuild. When we think about Ocean Rig's fleet, have any tenders come to market that simply the capability of the existing fleet is unable to bid on any work? Or is that not really what's happening?

George Economou

I'll pick it up. No, I think this is not the case with us because we are at the forefront of development. So we are building rigs that satisfy all the clients. Occasionally, you may find a client that has specific requirements, but that will be a deal that will be done with the company which, subsequently, will order newbuildings. We have not faced a situation where we did not comply with requirements and were unable to tender to date. And we don't expect that to be the case in the future.

Gregory Lewis - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Okay. And then when we think about the Santorini, you mentioned that you're in discussions for that rig. It's still a couple -- it's still over a year before it gets delivered. When we think about the Santorini and I guess, really, just sort of a gauge of where the market is, George, I guess if you had to sort of put, like, a buoy or an anchor around where you think the market is today, I guess what I'm trying to back into is the duration we should be thinking about, is it 2 years, is it 3 years, is it 4 years? And sort of any sort of guidance on maybe where rate is or where your expectations are for that rig in terms of what type of ultra-deep -- what type of day rate it could get?

George Economou

Yes, I think, on average, you can probably figure for modeling purposes that the requirements will be, on average, 2 to 3 years. We don't expect to fix a lot less than we have been fixing in the past. So we don't share the view of the analysts or some of the guys that the rates will be moving down a lot. We're covered for what we believe is a soft period. We are in position with the customers that are very happy to continue working with us. We have advantage and we are in position compared to people that have mobilized, especially when the mobilization is very long. So for your modeling purposes as regard to our company, I think we're happy with information we've given that we don't believe that you need to reduce your rates when you model our company going forward.

Gregory Lewis - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Okay. And then just lastly, I guess in 2015, you have the 2 rigs that are rolling off-contracts with Petrobras, the Corcovado and the Mykonos. From conversations you've had with Petrobras at this point, is it reasonable to think that we will see these rigs get extended or is it more along the lines of Petrobras is going to sort of look at those rigs and then really just go back out in the market and start a new bidding process?

George Economou

No. I think it's the first, and we expect that these rigs will be renewed. We are in very advanced negotiations and we hope we'll satisfy you with the rates that we'll be achieving at the end.

Operator

And now your next question from Evercore comes from the line of Darren Hicks.

Darren T. Hicks - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Just wanted to touch on the 4Q top line results. Relative to our estimates, you posted exceptional results. I'm wondering if you could point to anything other than higher-than-expected utilization versus your guidance for the out-performance, such as was there any kind of incentive-based revenue or bonus revenue for meeting targets or anything like that?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Darren, we don't have any bonus schemes in our existing contracts. The main difference, we believe, in addition of course to the high utilization that you mentioned, is some additional deferred revenue that we had. There were also some -- a lower number of mobilization days related to the Skyros. And also, certain assumptions that had to do with the Corcovado, where we ended up effectively recognizing the revenue. So these were the main differences between the results and what the, let's say, broadly speaking the consensus Street estimates.

Darren T. Hicks - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Okay. Great. And one more, on the OpEx side, before I get into something a little bit more broad. The going-forward run rate, is it still roughly $10 million per rig for SG&A?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

It will be still higher than that. It will be closer to $12.5 million, base is 9 units.

Darren T. Hicks - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then finally, with this soft patch that you guys are referring to over the near-term, I understand you said it's likely going to be shallow and somewhat short-lived. Is it safe to say that your outlook for acquisitions and your appetite for acquisitions is unchanged in the near term and in the long term?

George Economou

Well, as we said, we're not going to pick up newbuildings that are speculatively delivering from the yard. The second-hand market is nonexistent. If there is one, well, certainly we'll look at it. And if we are to move forward, we would move with very different newbuildings that would be satisfying -- maybe not purposely built for a particular client, but satisfying the expectations of higher-spec units.

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Darren, as what we've mentioned in general, our growth plan at this point is much more moderate compared to the past. And it's about in the 1 to 2 unit per year region.

George Economou

With nothing coming in '16.

Operator

And our next question from Deutsche Bank comes from the line of Mike Urban.

Michael W. Urban - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

The -- apologize if I missed this earlier, but if you could update us on your thinking and your plans and hopefully, the timing around that for potential MLP and/or initiation of dividends at the Ocean Rig level?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Yes, of course. This is Anthony. The plan, the dividend is pretty straightforward. We will initiate the dividend based on our Q1 operations. The dividend will be payable in mid, on or about mid-May, and the amount will be $25 million. And that will be the run rate of dividends going forward based on the board's dividend policy at this point. As far as the MLP is concerned, we are actively progressing. The timeline remains approximately the same, positioning us for a potential launch subject, of course, to market conditions and other factors towards the end of the second quarter. And as we have mentioned in the past, it will most likely be a fractional interest in certain of our 2011 or our 2013 units.

Michael W. Urban - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Okay. Great. And presumably, the refinancings that you've done have kind of facilitated that and you've talked about the removal of covenants and amortization payments, and things like that. Are there any kind of remaining hurdles on that front or do you feel like the capital structure positions you well to execute on those plans at this point?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Yes. At this point, we are completely well-positioned to both initiate the dividend, as well as to form and launch the MLP.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And from R.W. Pressprich, you have a question from the line of Oliver Corlett.

Oliver Corlett

I just have one quick question on G&A. I think you'd said in a previous call that your run rate was somewhere in the region of $25 million a quarter. The last couple of quarters, it has been higher. Is there something nonrecurring in the Q4 numbers?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

In the Q4 numbers, we had certain accruals, year-end accruals. So these actually happen more in the fourth quarter. So it's natural for the fourth quarter to be higher than the other quarters.

Oliver Corlett

Okay. Although, that doesn't seem to have been true in the last few years. But what kind of run rate should we use for G&A in 2014 and '15, do you think?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

Approximately, as I mentioned before, about $12.5 million on a 9-unit fleet basis.

Oliver Corlett

Oh, $12.5 million per unit annually?

Anthony C. Argyropoulos

On a 9-unit -- 9- to 10-unit fleet basis.

Operator

Now from Pareto, you have a question from Andreas Stubsrud.

Andreas Stubsrud - Pareto Securities AS, Research Division

I had a question about Eirik Raude. It has a contract to end 2014, and I was wondering if you have some comments around likely if it's going toward Falkland Islands or it's going to stay in Africa, or what's your prospects for Eirik Raude going into 2015?

George Economou

I think the Falkland is one possibility, we're looking at others. So we don't have something definitive to reply. But we'll try to use the unique characteristics of the harsh environment of the rig.

Operator

And as there are no further questions at this time, we'll now pass the floor back for closing remarks.

George Economou

Well, we want to thank everybody that has participated in the call. Thank you, operator, and that's the end of the call.

Operator

Thank you very much indeed. Thank you to our speakers today. That does conclude our conference. Thank you, all, for participating. You may now disconnect.

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