The Houston based firm earned $279 million or 63 cents per share for the quarter ending in September, against $706 million, or $1.61 per share, a year earlier, which included a large tax benefit, related to the reorganization of some foreign subsidiaries. Even after excluding onetime charges, the oilfield services company fell short of estimates. After removing 7 cents per share charge related to internally developed software and other information technology assets, and 3 cents per share for a plant closing, earnings were 73 cents per share, lower than the 83 cents estimates by the analysts.
Revenue for the quarter increased by 3 percent to $5.23 billion from $5.06 billion, but still missed Wall Street’s $5.43 billion estimate. The company’s operating margin declined to 8.8 percent from 15.9 percent, while total costs and expenses climbed 12 percent to $4.77 billion.
The world’s third-largest oilfield services company’s North American pressure pumping business has been under pressure, as clients shift their preference to oil-rich shale, and pulled out from drilling for natural gas. In North America, the company’s largest geographic business by revenue, revenue improved marginally by 0.8 percent and the segment’s pretax profit fell 52 percent. On Canada, the company said the seasonal return of activity in the region was down by nearly 30 percent.
“Activity was less than planned in several key geomarkets for Baker Hughes, resulting in an unfavorable mix,” said CEO Martin Craighead. “The clearest example is Canada, where the seasonal return of activity was nearly 30 percent less than this time last year. Internationally, the collective rig count in Brazil, Colombia, and Norway was down 17 percent compared to the last quarter, and these are all meaningful markets for Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI)”.
Oilfield services companies have had far less pricing power this year, as depressed natural gas prices pushed the number of U.S. rigs targeting gas to a 13-year low. Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), which announced its results on Wednesday, also took a similar hit with 12 percent decline in profits. Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB), the world’s largest oilfield services company, posted a better quarterly profit, as it is far less reliant on North America.