Halliburton shares fall: "The international downward cycle is still playing out"

Oliver Gill
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US shale producers are coming back online, says Halliburton (Source: Getty)

Halliburton's share price fell over two per cent today after revealing soft markets outside North America were only partially compensating for loss-making international operations.

The figures

The firm today revealed its full year numbers in a trading update with total revenue falling by $7.7bn, or 33 per cent to $15.9bn.

Losses mounted and operating profits widened from $165m in 2015 to $6.8bn in 2016.

Fourth quarter performance was more positive though, increasing by five per cent compared with the third quarter to $4bn.

North America revenues were $1.8bn, up nine per cent, and the firm posted an operating profit in the area for the quarter for the first time in a year – $94m, up from an operating loss of $66m in the third quarter.

Read more: Halliburton optimistic on US drilling prospects as it posts surprise profit

Why it's interesting

The sluggish performance at a group level of the world's second largest oilfield services provider follows a eight per cent flop in fourth quarter revenues from larger competitor Schlumberger.

The strong performance in North America was driven by better oil pricing and the ramping up of US onshore production.

More and more shale producers, encouraged by a rise in crude oil prices, are coming back online across the continent.

Read more: Halliburton's share price slumps despite beating earnings expectations

What the company said

Chief exec Dave Lesar said: “Despite the turbulent year for the energy industry, I am very pleased with our 2016 results. They show that we have executed in a challenging market.

“I am pleased to announce that we returned to operating profitability in North America this quarter, and achieved 65 per cent incremental margins.

Despite the positive sentiment surrounding the North American land market, it is important to remember that our world is still a tale of two cycles. The North America market appears to have rounded the corner, but the international downward cycle is still playing out.

2016 was a year of transition, and as we move into 2017 our focus will be on driving industry leading returns.

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