Precision Drilling Trust saw its third-quarter profit fall to $72-million, a 13-per-cent decline from the same time last year attributed to slow drilling activity throughout the North American energy industry.
The profit amounted to 25 cents per diluted share and compared with $82-million or 61 cents a year earlier.
The per-unit decline was also affected by a 119-per-cent increase in the number of trust units outstanding, due to Precision's purchase of Grey Wolf Inc. in late 2008.
Precision said the decline in profit included a $27-million increase in finance charges, offset by $63-million foreign exchange gain.
Excluding the impact of interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Precision Drilling's EBITDA was $86-million, down 28 per cent from the third quarter of 2008.
Revenue fell to $253.34-million from $285.64-million, a decline of 11.3 per cent.
Compared with the second quarter of 2009, revenue was up 21 per cent.
"The increase was attributed to higher rig activity due to seasonality in Canada, demand for services on oil wells and early indications that drilling for natural gas may have bottomed in the second quarter," Precision said in its announcement.
Nevertheless, the trust said it expects to keep capital spending at low levels this year.
"Capital expenditures totalled $179-million in the first nine months of 2009 and are expected to be approximately $210-million for the full year, with approximately $40-million for upgrade capital and $170-million for previously committed expansion capital."
Precision's units closed Wednesday at $7.59 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.