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By Mark Lieberman and Thomas C. Frohlich
May 8, 2015

The drop in oil prices last year might have been good news for U.S. motorists, but it wreaked havoc for oil drilling companies. Oil and natural resource companies snagged five slots on the list of the 15 companies that lost the most money in 2014, the largest industry contingent on the list. Pharmaceutical companies were a close second with four companies among the top 15, and the tech industry was represented with three companies. Giant e-retailer Amazon.com made the list as well.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 15 publicly traded companies with the largest losses in 2014. The list was led by oil and gas producer Apache Corp., which reported a staggering $5.4 billion loss. Together, the 15 companies lost $21.7 billion in 2014 on collective revenues of $267.5 billion.

Of the 15 companies recording the greatest losses, only two — Target and Amazon.com — were within the top 40 publicly traded companies in the country by revenue. Amazon.com ranked 26th out of the the S&P 500 companies with just under $89 billion in revenue, and Target ranked 37th with nearly $73 billion in revenue.

Losses among energy companies were largely due to writedowns resulting from the plunge in oil prices. Oil drilling and exploration companies were forced to write down the goodwill on their balance sheets because the drop in oil prices made drilling new wells uneconomical and decreased the value of their oil reserves.

While the colossal losses reported were certainly bad signs, for some of these companies, including some of the energy companies, this was not necessarily the case. In fact, the recorded losses do not necessarily signal failing businesses, as 11 of the 15 companies reviewed experienced an increase in revenues from 2013 to 2014.

In some instances losses resulted from one-time events such as costs associated with acquisitions or with eliminating a money-losing operation, actions which could turn into profits in future years. In still other cases, large-scale mishaps accounted for the bulk of losses.

Five of the companies losing the most money invested substantially acquiring other businesses in 2014. Pharmaceutical company Actavis, plc, for example, lost $1.6 billion in 2014, some of which was attributable to costs associated with its acquisition of Allergan, another in its series of strategic acquisitions.

Target Corp., which reported losing $1.64 billion in 2014, took a $4.1 billion charge when it closed its money-losing operation in Canada.

Transocean was found to be 30% at fault for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, which killed 11 workers and caused one of the largest oil spills ever. This accounted for the bulk of the company’s reported loss. Transocean, nonetheless, increased its dividends for shareholders in 2014. Five of the companies losing the most money increased their dividends from 2013 to 2014.

While the pharmaceutical companies overall took writedowns either to cover acquisition or similar transaction expenses, in one instance the loss followed complications with a particular product. In the fourth quarter of last year Vertex Pharmaceuticals withdrew Incivek from the U.S. market after patients reported serious skin reactions.

To identify the 15 publically-traded companies recording the largest losses in 2014, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed net income losses in the most recent fiscal years among companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500. When available, the net income attributable to shareholders was used. We also reviewed company websites and financial documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. One-year stock price change was measured over the period between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015 from Google Finance.

These are the 15 companies which lost the most money in 2014.


15. Amazon.com Inc.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $241.0 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $89.0 billion
> Industry: Online retail
> 1 yr. stock price change: +38.8%

Amazon.com posted a net loss of $241 million in its fiscal 2014, the 15th largest loss among the 500 large U.S. companies reviewed. The online retailer had total revenue of roughly $89.0 billion last year, an exceptionally large figure compared to other companies losing the most money. Companies with the largest net income gains, on the other hand, disproportionately have among the largest revenues. Even Amazon’s net income gain of $274 million in its fiscal 2013 was meager compared to the total revenue of $74.5 billion that year. Despite the company’s poor results — on paper — Amazon.com has been growing dramatically for years. Amazon.com has many of the hallmarks of tech startup companies — rapidly growing with little to no profits. But although it is still behaving like a startup — investing in its growth rather than profits — it is a 10-year old retail behemoth. Because many on Wall Street view this as CEO Jeff Bezos’ long-term strategy of favoring expansion over short-term gains, the stock price has shot up nearly 200% over the past five years. Amazon has never paid a dividend to its shareholders.


14. Equinix Inc.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $260.7 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $2.4 billion
> Industry: Technology
> 1 yr. stock price change: +42.0%

Equinix, an interconnection and data center company, was founded in 1998 around the time that Internet-based commercial activity was beginning to take off. The company’s primary product, the Equinix Platform, aims to provide faster connectivity at lower prices across disparate networks around the world. Equinix operates in 15 countries around the world. As of the end of last year, Equinix had 3,866 employees, most of whom were based in the Americas. After posting profits in 2013 and 2012, the company posted a loss of $260.7 million in 2014. Despite the loss, Equinix reported 2014 annual revenues of $2.4 billion, up 14% from the year before. The company’s cash, cash equivalents, and investments were about $1.1 billion, also up from 2013. The net loss is largely attributable to increased spending on expansion projects, losses from debt extinguishment, and a year-over-year increase in operating expenses. Equinix did not pay a dividend to shareholders in 2014, but declared a $1.69 per share cash dividend in March 2015.


13. Salesforce.com, inc.

> Fiscal 2015 net income loss: $262.7 million
> Fiscal 2015 revenue: $5.4 billion
> Industry: Technology
> 1 yr. stock price change: +37.9%

Salesforce.com reported revenues of $5.4 billion for the 12 months ending January 2015, up from the previous fiscal year. Most of the revenue comes from customers subscribing to Salesforce.com’s cloud computing services. The company posted large losses in each of the last three fiscal years. In the most recent fiscal year, the company posted a net loss of $262.7 million, even larger than the previous year’s loss of $232.2 million. According to the company, aggressive and costly hiring and acquisitions — although largely responsible for the company’s rapid growth — also accounted for the net losses. Over the past four years, Salesforce.com has spent billions acquiring smaller companies. CEO Marc Benioff has also been praised in recent years for taking on social issues. Most recently, Benioff publically opposed Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, and is also reported to be reviewing his own employees’ salaries to ensure gender pay equality. Salesforce.com did not pay shareholders a dividend in 2014.


12. Mallinckrodt public limited company

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $319.3 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $2.5 billion
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> 1 yr. stock price change: +68.9%

Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor, is one of the older companies on this list, founded in 1840. The company reported modest net income in its fiscal 2013 and 2012 but a net loss of $319.3 million in 2014 — the 12th largest loss among companies in the S&P 500. The company’s fiscal 2014 revenue of $2.5 billion grew from the previous year, however. Like many other companies posting the largest losses, Mallinckrodt’s current lack of profits is due in part to expenses related to major acquisition investments. Mallinckrodt acquired Cadence Pharmaceuticals and Questcor Pharmaceuticals in 2014 for $1.4 billion and roughly $5.8 billion, respectively. Most recently, the company acquired Ikaria in an all-cash $2.3 billion deal. The company did not pay a dividend to its shareholders in 2014.


11. Juniper Networks, Inc.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $334.3 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $4.6 billion
> Industry: Technology
> 1 yr. stock price change: 8.0%

Juniper Networks develops and sells a range of network devices, including IP routers and Ethernet switches, as well as security and support services. The Sunnyvale, California-based company reported a net loss of $334.3 million in its fiscal 2014, a stark change from the $439.8 million net income reported in the previous year. Juniper Network’s fiscal 2014 revenue of $4.6 billion was down slightly from its fiscal 2013 revenue. Juniper remains optimistic despite the revenue declines, and the current stock price has risen significantly in recent weeks. The company has been losing market share in its main IP routers business to Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent. Alcatel-Lucent was recently acquired by Nokia, which is one of Juniper’s major distribution partners. Juniper paid a 20 cent per share annual dividend to shareholders in 2014. It did not pay a dividend in 2013. The company declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, or 40 cents annually, for 2015.


10. Endo International plc

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $721.3 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $2.9 billion
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> 1 yr. stock price change: +38.6%

Specialty pharmaceutical company Endo International, lost a hefty $721.3 million in 2014. The Dublin-based company manufactures both branded and generic medications, including pain relief drugs such as Lidoderm, Voltaren Gel, and Percocet. As of February 20, 2015, Endo had 5,062 employees. Like many similar companies, Endo has a number of new drugs awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. In March 2014, the FDA approved Aveed, an injectable treatment for low testosterone. This March, Endo began marketing Natesto, a nasal gel for testosterone replacement, which the FDA approved in May 2014. Endo’s legal bill in 2014 was $1.31 billion, an increase of $831.2 million from 2013, when the company lost $685.3 million. In 2014, Endo negotiated the sale of its men’s health and prostate treatment businesses to Boston Scientific. Endo did not pay a dividend to its shareholders in 2014.


9. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $738.6 million
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $580 million
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> 1 yr. stock price change: +92.1%

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a Boston-based biotechnology company, which focuses on specialty markets such as cystic fibrosis treatments for patients under the age of six. The company lost $738.6 million in 2014. In addition, it is conducting early-stage research in oncology and neurology. Vertex was founded in 1989 and as of December 31, 2014, had about 1,830 employees. Vertex revenues dropped sharply from $1.2 billion in 2013 to $580 million in 2014. In the fourth quarter of last year the company withdrew Incivek from the U.S. market after patients reported serious skin reactions. Revenues from Incivek fell from $1.2 billion 2013 to $580 million in 2014. With the withdrawal of incivek, Vertex is concentrating on its CF medications for patients over age six, and a separate medication for CF patients 12 and older. Vertex does not pay a dividend to its shareholders.


8. Genworth Financial, Inc.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.2 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $9.6 billion
> Industry: Finance
> 1 yr. stock price change: -49.3%

Genworth Financial is one of the nation’s leading providers of insurance, retirement plans, and homeowners mortgage insurance. Last year, the company increased its benefits and policy reserves by $1.7 billion and took a goodwill impairment charge of almost $850 million that contributed to turning its $560 million 2013 profit into the $1.2 billion 2014 loss. The Richmond, Virginia-based company’s premium and other revenue increased to $9.6 billion in 2014 from $9.4 billion in 2013. With reserve and impairment increases, though, expenses rose $2.5 billion, more than wiping out the $162 million revenue boost. The tax effect of the increases in reserve and impairment charges reduced Genworth’s loss by $228 million. In addition to offering products in the U.S., Genworth sells mortgage insurance and related products in Canada, Australia, and some European countries. Genworth does not pay a cash dividend to its shareholders.


7. Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.2 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $21.4 billion
> Industry: Energy
> 1 yr. stock price change: -31.6%

Mining company Freeport-McMoRan is a large producer of copper, gold, cobalt and silver among other metals. As of December 31, 2014, proven and probable recoverable mineral reserves totaled 103.5 billion pounds of copper, 28.5 million ounces of gold, and 282.9 million ounces of silver. The company’s estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves totaled 390 million barrels of oil equivalents. Formerly known as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, the company changed its name to Freeport-McMoRan Inc. in July 2014. At December 31, 2014, it employed about 35,000 workers. The company reported a profit of $2.7 billion in 2013. In 2014, however, the company posted a $1.3 billion loss due to a writedown of $3.7 billion of the value of oil and gas properties, and a goodwill impairment charge of $1.7 billion. Both came as a result of the drop in crude oil and natural gas prices. The company also struggled with declining copper prices, which dropped because of lower demand from China. Freeport-McMoRan paid an annual dividend of $1.25 per share in 2014, unchanged from 2013. In 2013, however, the company declared an additional $1 per share dividend.


6. Actavis plc

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.6 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $13.1 billion
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> 1 yr. stock price change: -42.7%

Actavis reported revenues of $13.1 billion in 2014, an increase of $4.4 billion from 2013. Its net loss, however, more than doubled to $1.6 billion from $750.4 million. The Irish pharmaceutical company produces generic and branded medications as well as over-the-counter products, women’s health treatments and oncology drugs Actavis wrote off $189.9 million last year as an impairment charge on assets held for sale. In November 2014, Actavis incurred transaction costs of $17.8 million when it reached an agreement to acquire Allergan. The deal closed in March 2015. Actavis plans to change its name to Allergan. Actavis sells its products in Ireland — where it was founded in 1983 — as well as internationally. It has manufacturing facilities in Europe, the United States, and Asia. At the end of 2014, Actavis had about 21,600 employees. Actavis does not pay cash dividends to its shareholders.


5. Target Corp.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.6 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue:$72.6 billion
> Industry: Retail
> 1 yr. stock price change: -28.7%

Target reported a $1.6 billion loss in its fiscal 2014 (which ended January 31, 2015) on revenues of $72.6 billion. Target operated 1,934 stores, 1,801 in the United States and 133 in Canada as of the end of 2014. At the end of its fiscal 2014, Target announced plans to leave Canada. The closing of the Canadian stores resulted in a $4.1 billion charge for discontinued operations against Target’s income, resulting in the loss. Target, which was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, had approximately 347,000 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees as of January 31, 2015. During its peak sales period — from Thanksgiving through the end of December — Target employs about 447,000 workers. In fiscal 2013, Target reported a profit of just under $2 billion on revenues of $73.3 billion, and in fiscal 2012 the discount retailer had profits of just under $3 billion on revenues of $72.0 billion. For its 2014 fiscal year, Target paid shareholders $1.99 per share in dividends, up from $1.65 in 2014.


4. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.8 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $18.5 billion
> Industry: Energy
> 1 yr. stock price change: -5.4%

Because of the significant drop in oil prices last year, oil and gas exploration company Anadarko Petroleum reported a loss of $1.8 billion for 2014. The Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko was founded in 1959 and had about 6,100 employees as of December 31, 2014. The company’s weak year-end report was the result of lower crude oil prices and natural gas liquids sales. The company’s 2014 loss included a $4.4 billion contingent loss related to a settlement of environmental claims against the Kerr-McGee Corporation, which Anadarko acquired in 2006. In 2014, Anadarko paid shareholders dividends totaling 99 cents per share for the year, up from the 54 cents per share it paid in 2013.


3. Transocean Ltd.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $1.9 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $9.2 billion
> Industry: Energy
> 1 yr. stock price change: -56.1%

Switzerland-based Transocean is a global oil and gas offshore contract driller It performs contract drilling services in regions of the world it describes as “technically demanding” with its mobile offshore drilling fleet and associated equipment. As of December 31, the company had about 13,100 employees. Transocean operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and causing one of the largest oil spills ever recorded. In September, a Louisiana court found Transocean was negligent and 30% at fault for the disaster. The company wrote off in excess of $4 billion as a result of the ruling and asset impairments. Transocean paid an annual dividend of $3.00 per share in 2014, up from $2.24 in 2013. For 2015, the annual dividend was cut to 60 cents per share.


2. Ensco plc

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $3.9 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $4.6 billion
> Industry: Energy
> 1 yr. stock price change: -47.2%

Ensco plc, one of the largest providers of offshore drilling services, reported a $3.9 billion loss in 2014 due primarily to a $3 billion writedown of goodwill. The company’s goodwill valuation typically takes into account commodity prices, which fell in the fourth quarter of 2014. The London-based Ensco owns the second largest rig fleet in the world, operating in about 20 countries. The company recorded a loss of $1.2 billion in 2014 from “discontinued operations,” largely on account of the sale of one of the six rigs Ensco announced it would sell. In June 2014, Carl Trowell became Ensco’s CEO and president, succeeding Dan Rabun who retired after eight years as CEO. Ensco’s losses followed the decline in oil prices in 2014, which in turn led to a drop in drilling activity. Ensco, despite the loss, increased its annual dividend to $3.00 a share in 2014, up $1.00 from 2013. Ensco relies heavily on offshore oil and natural gas exploration, which account for a major portion of its revenues. During 2014, five customers accounted for nearly half of Ensco’s revenues. Its largest customer, BP, provided 16% of its revenues.


1. Apache Corp.

> Fiscal 2014 net loss: $5.4 billion
> Fiscal 2014 revenue: $13.9 billion
> Industry: Energy
> 1 yr. stock price change: -21.6%

Oil and natural gas producer Apache Corp. lost a colossal $5.4 billion in its fiscal 2014, as its revenues plunged 10.9% from 2013 largely due to falling oil prices. Apache wrote off $2.4 billion of assets which lost value because of the drop in oil prices. Despite the loss, Apache in 2014, raised its annual dividend to $1.00 per share from 80 cents in 2013. At the end of 2014, Apache had 4,950 employees. Apache’s principal operations are in the Anadarko basin in western Oklahoma and in the Texas panhandle, the Gulf Coast, and parts of Western Canada. It also has operations in Egypt. Its losses followed a more than 50% drop in crude oil prices during the year, which also affected other oil producing companies. Apache’s long-time CEO G. Steven Farris abruptly resigned in January, a month before the company’s earnings report was released, and about a week after the company said it was laying off 5% of its staff, or about 250 employees.

For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

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