Slowdown in North American Drilling Hits Baker Hughes

Offshore drill rig
Offshore drill rig

Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning. The oil field services firm reported adjusted diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48 on revenues of $5.22 billion. In the same period a year ago, Baker Hughes reported EPS of $1.20 on revenues of $5.3 billion. This morning's results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.61 on revenues of $5.2 billion.

For the full year, the company reported adjusted EPS of $3.00 on $20.93 billion in revenues. A year ago the company reported EPS of $4.14 on revenues of $19.43 billion. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $3.18 on revenues of $21.11 billion.

The company's CEO said:

Our fourth quarter results reflect the challenges faced by the industry as North American activity declined sharply towards the end of the year, and we continue to deal with unfavorable pricing conditions in the pressure pumping market. As a result, we experienced a decline in North America revenues and margins this quarter. The revenue declines were almost entirely offset by gains in our international business, driven by record revenues in all of our international segments during the quarter.

Baker Hughes' statement uses different words, but follows the basic script of last week's earnings results from Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB). The difference between the two is that Schlumberger already has a large international presence and Baker Hughes is trying to build one.

Operating margins for the full year fell from 20% in 2011 to 12% last year. The only regional gain came from the company's Europe/Africa/Russia Caspian group, which grew the margin from 13% to 16%, and is the company's second-largest revenue generator, with about one-third the revenue of the company's North American operations. North America accounts for slightly more than half of Baker Hughes' revenues.

Baker Hughes did not offer any guidance. The consensus estimates for the first quarter call for EPS of $0.63 on revenues of $5.21 billion. For the full year, EPS is estimated at $3.13 on revenues of $21.83 billion.

Shares are down 0.1% in premarket trading this morning, at $44.80 in a 52-week range of $37.08 to $52.93. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $48.00 before today's results were announced.

For a look at what one analyst thinks of the oil field sector stocks, see our story on price targets in the oil field services sector.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Earnings, Oil & Gas Tagged: BHI, SLB