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Halliburton Beats Forecasts Despite Lower North America Demand

Oilfield services provider Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) reported on Tuesday a net income for Q4 beating analyst estimates, on the back of continued recovery in its international business, which more than offset lower demand for completion services in North America.

Halliburton posted adjusted income from continuing operations of US$0.41 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2018, excluding a tax benefit related to a strategic change in the company’s corporate structure.

The US$0.41 earnings per share compares to an analyst consensus estimate of US$0.37 by The Wall Street Journal.

In the fourth quarter, demand for completion services in North America— Halliburton’s biggest market by revenue—dropped as operators focus on returns, the company said.

Total revenues in the fourth quarter came in at US$5.9 billion, down by 4 percent from the revenue of US$6.2 billion in the third quarter of 2018.

Halliburton’s North America revenue dropped by 11 percent on the quarter to US$3.3 billion in Q4, mainly due to lower activity and pricing in stimulation services, which were partially offset by higher fluids activity in the Gulf of Mexico. International revenue, on the other hand, increased by 7 percent sequentially to US$2.6 billion, thanks to higher year-end product and software sales in Middle East/Asia and Latin America, partially offset by a seasonal decline in pipeline services in Europe/Africa/CIS.

For the full year 2018, Halliburton’s total revenue rose by 16 percent on the year to US$24.0 billion.

Related: Warning Signs Flash For U.S. Shale

“Our team optimized our performance in North America as the market softened, and the recovery of our international business continued,” Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Miller said in the statement, commenting on the fourth-quarter performance.

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“The trajectory of this cycle has been far from smooth. As expected, in North America, the demand for completion services decreased during the fourth quarter, leading to lower pricing for hydraulic fracturing services,” Miller noted.   

Halliburton’s competitor Schlumberger—whose shares jumped last Friday on its Q4 results—said that it expects North America’s E&P operators to likely keep future investments much closer to a level that can be covered by free cash flow, while companies in international markets except for the Middle East and Russia “are starting to see the need to invest in their resource base simply to maintain production at current levels.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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