Ensco PLC Class A Earnings Call Insights: Upcoming Shipyard Payments and Additional Drill Ships

Ensco PLC Class A (NYSE:ESV) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Upcoming Shipyard Payments

David Wilson – Howard Weil: Jay with regard to the upcoming shipyard payments in 2013 for the DS-7 and a couple of 120 series jackups, do you intend to debt finance some of those payments?

Jay W. Swent – SVP and CFO: Yeah David, at this point the expectation is that those payments will be made from current cash flow, and I guess to answer your question a little more deeply, we really don’t have any intent at this point to increase our long-term debt during the year. In fact we actually have some scheduled repayments that will cause that to go down, probably about $75 million over the course of the year.

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David Wilson – Howard Weil: Along that line of thinking, how do you – with debt levels, cash flows, pending shipyard payments and possibly increasing the dividend, how do you balance all those as, do you think investors would like a little more debt in return for dividends or how do you guys think about?

Jay W. Swent – SVP and CFO: Right. I think as we said on the last call, we are in the very enviable position of being in a position to return capital to shareholders and also grow the business. As I said in my remarks, we are investing $1.2 billion this year in newbuild CapEx for growth for the future. So I think as we’ve always said we are in a position to do both and all options are always on the table.