UPDATE 1-Union Drilling Q4 loss narrows, sees lower Q1 dayrates

Thu Mar 4, 2010 4:49pm EST

* Q4 adj loss $0.08/shr vs est loss $0.17/shr

* Revenue halves at $40.6 mln vs est $41.4 mln

* Expects better utilization from Barnett Shale in Q2

March 4 (Reuters) - Union Drilling Inc UDRL.O posted a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss on lower expenses, and the oilfield services provider said it is seeing lower dayrates for its rigs in the first quarter.

"So far, the trend in the first quarter has been one of increasing activity, but we have been hampered by weather in all of our markets and we're seeing lower dayrates than we had last year," Chief Executive Christopher Strong said in a statement.

The company, which primarily services the natural gas producers, sees significantly better utilization from its Barnett Shale going into the second quarter.

Fourth quarter net loss was $2.9 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $3.7 million, or 17 cents a share, in the year ago period.

Excluding items, the company had a loss of 8 cents a share. On that basis, analysts on average expected the company to post a loss of 17 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue at the land drilling contractor almost halved to $40.6 million. Analysts had expected $41.4 million.

Total cost and expenses fell 46 percent to $43.7 million.

Shares of the Fort Worth, Texas-based company closed at $7.41 Thursday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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