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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Halliburton profits beat forecasts as international demand grows

However, fourth-quarter revenue from North America fell about 2% to $3.3 billion from a year earlier and dropped 11% from the third quarter

Business outside its home market of the US has boosted oilfield services major. Reuters
Business outside its home market of the US has boosted oilfield services major. Reuters

Halliburton beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, as higher demand for its oilfield services in international markets offset a slowdown in North America.

Clients in North America, Halliburton's biggest market by revenue, began pulling back on some drilling services last year amid transportation bottlenecks in the largest US production region and after oil prices slid sharply in the fourth quarter.

An oil glut and concerns about a global economic slowdown have pushed US crude down about 30 per cent since their October high to around $53 a barrel.

Halliburton said revenue from North America fell about 2 per cent to $3.3 billion from a year earlier and dropped 11 per cent from the third quarter.

International revenue rose to $2.6bn from $2.5bn from a year earlier, reported Reuters. It rose 7 per cent from the third quarter.

"In North America, the demand for completions services decreased during the fourth quarter, leading to lower pricing for hydraulic fracturing services," chief executive Jeff Miller said.

The number of active hydraulic fracturing fleets in the Permian basin fell to 140 in January, versus 192 in June of 2018, a 27 per cent decline, according to data from consultancy Primary Vision.

Mr Miller said the company would "dramatically respond" to the changing market and reduce capital spending. Shares of rival Schlumberger rose sharply last week after it said it would spend less in 2019.

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Halliburton's international business "continues to show signs of a steady recovery", Mr Miller added. The company saw an increase in demand for services in Argentina, which help offset some lower activity in North America.

Shares of Halliburton were down 1.5 per cent at $31.76 before the opening bell on Wall Street on Tuesday.

The company said net income attributable to the company was $664 million, or 76 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended December 31, compared with a loss of $824m or 94 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 41 cents per share, beating analysts' estimates of 37 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Fourth-quarter revenue was largely flat at $5.94bn.

The results come as Dave Lesar, fresh from retiring as executive chairman of Halliburton at the end of 2018, is said to be working on a new venture in the oil patch with funding from private equity company CSL Capital Management.

Mr Lesar, 65, plans to start an oilfield services company, said Charles Leykum, the founder of Houston-based CSL, Bloomberg reported. A representative for Mr Lesar said he wasn’t immediately able to comment.

The move would see Mr Lesar following in the footsteps of Andrew Gould, who also struck out on his own after stepping down as chairman of rival services giant Schlumberger in 2012.

Updated: January 22, 2019 05:24 PM

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