Engineering, Equipment & Technology, Mining and Heavy Industries

Boss of driller Boart steps down as losses continue

Credit: Boart Longyear

Drilling company Boart Longyear is looking for its next chief executive, after Richard O’Brien announced on Monday he would step down from the role.

The company announced a statutory operating loss of $84m in the first half of 2015, following a $99m loss in the second half of 2014, and an $86m loss in the first half of 2014.

In his last statement before announcing his departure, O’Brien said despite the losses, the company was seeing “some stabilisation in activity levels,” and is “realising the benefits of [its] aggressive cost actions and strategies to streamline and improve productivity”.

“The impact of these improvements can be seen in a ‘loss from trading activities’ for that period that was relatively flat to the same period in 2014 despite a revenue decrease of $34m for that period,” he said.

Indeed, the company’s $27.8m loss from trading activities was just 1.5% worse than in the first half of last year, despite the company experiencing an 8.1% drop in revenue in the same timeframe.

“Our markets will improve, and, when they do, we expect the significant reductions and operational improvements we have implemented in recent years will yield significantly improved profit margins and cash generation,” O’Brien resolved.

“We also believe we have additional opportunities to improve efficiencies in our business and variabilise costs in line with changes in operating activity.”

Soon after the annual report announcement, the Boart Longyear board announced O’Brien would be stepping down as president and CEO at a date that has yet to be determine.

“Mr O’Brien will continue to provide day-to-day leadership and oversight of the company until such time as a final departure date is agreed,” the company said.

Company chairman Marcus Randolph – who will take up an increased role in the company on a temporary basis – insisted the move was not part of a major change.

“Richard’s departure does not signal a significant change in the company’s priorities,” Randolph said. “He has assembled a talented, cohesive and committed management team with a deep understanding of the business and a clear set of objectives.”

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