Halliburton Earnings Please Investors

Drilling rig
Drilling rig

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) reported second-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The oil and gas services company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.73 on revenues of $7.32 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.67 on revenues of $7.23 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.72 and $7.25 billion in revenues.

The company did not provide guidance in its earnings release, but the third-quarter consensus estimates call for EPS of $0.84 on revenues of $7.57 billion. For the full year, EPS is estimated at $3.17 on revenues of $29.6 billion.

Halliburton did say that it expects its operations in the eastern hemisphere, which includes its Middle East/Asia and Europe/Africa/CIS groups, to continue growing with full-year revenue growth in the mid-teens, while margins finish in the high-teens. In Latin America, growth is expected to average in the mid-teens for the full year. In North America the company says only that it expects margins to continue expanding.

Margins rose just 1.5% for the quarter in North America. Fewer wells and more competition have taken their toll on Halliburton, but the CEO thinks the company can take advantage of the situation:

For the third quarter, we anticipate the U.S. land rig count to be flat. We are observing a continuing trend towards multi-well pad activity among our customer base, which we believe will result in higher service intensity. Ultimately, we believe this efficiency trend bodes very well for us, as our scale and expertise allows us to lead the industry in executing factory-type operations. ... We continue to be optimistic about Halliburton's performance for the remainder of 2013, our ability to continue growing our North America[n] margins, and continued revenue and margin expansion in our international business.

Operating income fell from $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012 to $1.04 billion in 2013. North American income was down 22%, Latin American income was down about 27%, while Europe/Africa/CIS came in flat and Middle East/Asia posted a handsome 43% gain. But North America accounts for two-thirds of Halliburton's operating income and more than half of its revenue.

Halliburton's North American revenue fell 8% in the second quarter, and combined with the drop in income does not inspire a lot of confidence. Margins did rise in North America, to 17.5%, but the growth was modest. Growth in the rest of the world will help, but North America is where Halliburton makes its numbers, and how the firm plans to make more money from fewer well pads is not entirely clear. Believing that the new drilling methods will result in higher service intensity is not the same thing as forecasting services growth. We will see.

Halliburton's shares are up about 1.7% in premarket trading at $46.60, a new 52-week high if it holds. The stock's 52-week range is $29.25 to $45.99. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $51.70 before today's report.

Filed under: Commodities & Metals Tagged: HAL