Fairmount Santrol 1Q16: Revenues Down 52%, Sand Sold Down 8%

Fairmount Santrol logoFairmount Santrol is a proppant manufacturer/supplier headquartered in Ohio. Proppants are things like sand and ceramic beads used to “prop open” tiny fractures created in hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas wells. In other words, Fairmount Santrol is a regional sand supplier for shale drillers–and a good proxy to understand what’s happening (or not happening) in our neck of the woods when it comes to drilling. If drillers aren’t drilling as much, that will show up first in the balance sheets of companies like Fairmount. And so it does. Fairmount reports in their first quarter 2016 update that revenues in 1Q16 were down 52% from 1Q15. But you can’t automatically assume that means there was half the drilling one year later. Fairmount also reports the volume of sand sold was down just 8% from 1Q15 to 1Q16. Why the discrepancy between revenue and volume? Fairmount doesn’t say, but we think we know: drillers have been putting the squeeze on supply chain companies like Fairmount, forcing them to deeply discount their prices…

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