OFFSHORE drilling services company Ensco plc has recorded a loss of US$3.9 billion for the 2014 calendar year after recording US$2.998 billion of non-cash goodwill impairments in continuing operations.

Revenue for the year was US$4.56 billion, up on the US$4.32 billion recorded in 2013, but US$4.22 billion in impairments dragged the result into the red – down from the US$1.43 billion profit recorded in 2013.

Excluding the non-cash losses, Ensco’s fourth quarter earnings from continuing operations for 2014 were US$1.68 per share, down from US$1.70 per share in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The company reported cash from operating activities of US$2.1 billion for the full year 2014, compared to the US$1.81 billion recorded in 2013.

Despite the loss, Ensco announced it would still issue a dividend of US 15 cents per Class A share, US 60 cents less than previously.

Ensco chief executive Carl Trowell said this would improve capital management flexibility in light of the market downturn.

The company was also decreasing its offshore employee base as it cold stacked rigs ahead of their planned sale, he said.

“We are reducing offshore discretionary compensation and onshore support costs … and we are actively negotiating with vendors and suppliers to lower costs, while maintaining or improving quality.

“In spite of challenging market conditions during 2014, we further improved rig uptime performance and had our best ever total recordable incident rate,” Mr Trowell said.

“During the year we commenced operations for three new ENSCO 120 Series jackups, all of which had excellent operational results during the year.”

The company classified three rigs as held-for-sale with results presented as discontinued operations during the fourth quarter of 2014.

In addition, four rigs in continuing operations have commenced cold stacking preparations since the start of 2015, the company said.