Halliburton reports 1Q loss on costs tied to oil price slump

HOUSTON (AP) — Halliburton reported a $643 million loss for its first quarter, as the oilfield services provider continued to adjust to slumping energy prices that have forced layoffs and other cutbacks at companies across the sector.

The Houston-based company said Monday that it booked about $823 million in after-tax charges during the quarter tied to asset write-offs, severance costs and other items. It also recorded $35 million in charges tied to its pending acquisition of rival Baker Hughes.

A steep drop in oil prices since last spring has forced almost every energy producer to cut expenses and scale back production. Producers are pressuring oil service companies, which manage their oil fields, on costs. Halliburton announced in February that it will eliminate at least 5,000 jobs.

In North America, Halliburton Co. felt pricing pressure and tighter profitability across all product lines due to an unprecedented decline in drilling activity, Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said in a statement.

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On a per-share basis, the company reported a loss of 76 cents in the first quarter. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs and non-recurring costs, came to 49 cents per share.

That beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts forecast, on average, earnings of 41 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

The company posted revenue of $7.05 billion in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $7.03 billion.

Halliburton shares edged up 18 cents to $47.07 in premarket trading Monday about 1½ hours before the market open. The stock had climbed about 19 percent since the beginning of the year, as of Friday, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 1 percent. But Halliburton shares dropped about 25 percent in the last 12 months.