* Q2 EPS ex-items 93 cents vs Wall St view 91 cents
* Revenue up 41 percent to $4.74 bln
* Int'l margins up again, offset weakness in North America
* Shares down 0.3 pct
* Weatherford reports earnings on Tuesday
(Adds analyst comment, Schlumberger estimates rising, byline)
By Braden Reddall
SAN FRANCISCO, July 25 Oilfield service company
Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N) posted slightly better-than-expected
quarterly earnings, driven by rising profit margins outside
North America that offset some weakness closer to home.
North American results were hurt by the usual seasonal
slowdown in Canada, where the spring snow melt hampers
activity, and as many Gulf of Mexico rigs served by the world's
third-largest oilfield services company remained sidelined.
Baker Hughes shares were down 0.3 percent to $79.67 in
early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange on
Larger rivals Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N) and Halliburton Co
(HAL.N) delivered better-than-expected results last week,
largely driven by a surge in U.S. activity. [ID:nL3E7IM1EQ]
"Although international revenue and margins beat our
expectations, the bar may have been set too high in North
America by some of Baker Hughes' less Canadian-sensitive
competitors," analysts at Raymond James said.
High oil prices have prompted energy producers to boost
activity in liquids-rich shale fields in the United States,
driving up prices for pressure pumping and other activities.
Baker Hughes had a solid performance outside North America,
with profit margins above 13 percent, or more than a percentage
point up from last quarter and nearing its 15 percent year-end
target. Chief Executive Chad Deaton said more international
price rises would kick in over the quarters ahead.
"The momentum is definitely building, there is no doubt
about it," said Deaton, who could see the international margin
recovery cap his seven-year stint as CEO when he steps down at
the end of the year. [ID:nN28121883]
Second-quarter net profit rose to $338 million, or 77 cents
a share, from $93 million, or 23 cents a share, a year
Excluding one-time items, Baker earned 93 cents a share,
above the 91 cents that analysts, on average, expected,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue grew 41 percent
to $4.74 billion, topping the $4.55 billion analysts expected.
While shares of Houston-based Baker Hughes dipped in
afternoon trade, Halliburton rose 0.4 percent. Shares of
Schlumberger, which has far more international exposure, added
The brightening oilfield outlook beyond the North American
shale boom was underlined by analysts increasing estimates and
price targets for Schlumberger. Dahlman Rose increased its
price target for the industry leader to $124 from $116, while
RBC Capital Markets bumped its target up to $113 from $110.
U.S.-traded shares of Weatherford International Ltd
WFT.VX(WFT.N), which has aggressively geared up for more
international growth, rose 1.5 percent ahead of its quarterly
results on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco and Krishna N
Das in Bangalore; Editing by Matthew Lewis, John Wallace and