• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

Schlumberger earnings advance as customers boost spending

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Schlumberger Ltd. the largest oilfield-services provider, said fourth-quarter profit rose 22 percent as customers spent more in the search for harder-to-reach deposits around the globe.

Net income climbed to $1.66 billion, or $1.26 a share, from $1.36 billion, or $1.02, a year earlier, Houston- and Paris-based Schlumberger said in a statement. Excluding one-time items, profit exceeded the $1.32 average of 33 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales climbed 7.4 percent to $11.9 billion.

The Middle East and Asia led the company’s international growth in the quarter, with sales climbing 18 percent, and the operating profit margin in the region growing to 26 percent from 22 percent a year earlier.

The company generates about two-thirds of sales outside of North America, the highest ratio among the largest service providers, including Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc.

“They delivered particularly well on the international side, despite some disruptions,” Scott Gruber, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, who rates the shares the equivalent of a buy and owns none, said. “It was a quality set of results.”

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 28 percent to 40 cents a share, according to a statement. The company today forecast double-digit growth in this year’s per-share earnings. Analysts estimated a 22 percent increase, according to the average of 36 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company said a temporary shutdown of operations in southern Iraq, as well as seasonal slowdowns in North America, the North Sea, Russia and China affected overall results.