Halliburton takes $2.2B charge as shale boom slows

North American revenue fell 21%

Halliburton performed better than Wall Street expected at the end of 2019 as strength overseas helped make up for a $2.2 billion charge from its struggling U.S. business.

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Sales of $5.19 billion from October through December topped the average estimate of $5.1 billion from analysts surveyed by Refinitv, and adjusted profit was nearly 10 percent above projections.

Still, North American sales at the Houston-based company fell 21 percent from the previous three-month period and 18 percent for the year, "as a result of reduced customer activity and pricing, and our decision to focus on returns over growth,” CEO Jeff Miller said in a statement. The company said the impact of the drop was curbed by higher year-end completion of tool sales in the Gulf of Mexico.

The results are the latest sign that oil services providers are facing headwinds in the U.S. shale patch. Last week, rival Schlumberger announced it was focusing on its international business amid waning North American demand for fracking.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HALHALLIBURTON COMPANY21.26-0.69-3.14%

Halliburton's $2.2 billion pre-tax write-down was mostly associated with pressure pumping and legacy drilling equipment, in addition to severance and other costs.

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Companywide, the oil services provider lost $1.88 a share as revenue fell 13 percent from a year earlier. Adjusted earnings, which exclude the $2.2 billion charge, were 32 cents a share, topping the 29 cents expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

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The company's international revenue rose 10 percent from the fall quarter to $2.9 billion, boosted by its Middle East/Asia unit.

Shares were down 2.1 percent this year through Monday.