August 24, 2017 / 7:33 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-North America oil upswing lifts Austria's Schoeller-Bleckmann

* Q2 operating profit turns positive for first time in 2 years

* CEO: too early to say if FY operating result will be positive

* CEO: Q3 bookings so far follow trend set in Q2

* Shares up 3.7 pct after results (Adds CEO interview on Q3 bookings trend, background)

By Shadia Nasralla

VIENNA, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Austria’s Schoeller-Bleckmann Oil Equipment posted its first quarterly operating profit for two years on Thursday and said its orders in the third quarter were continuing the positive trend, buoyed by an upswing in North America.

SBO gets its orders for highly specialised oilfield exploration equipment — including odd-angle drilling and fracking — from upstream energy companies of different sizes.

Heightened exploration activity in the United States and Canada, especially in West Texas, have helped SBO at a time when other markets stagnate.

Bookings in the first half of the year doubled from the same period last year to 150 million euros.

“Up to now we don’t see a big change in demand and in the market,” Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann told Reuters when asked about third-quarter bookings.

Shares in SBO were up around 3.7 percent in early trading.

Second-quarter earnings before interest and tax swung to a profit of 2.2 million euros ($2.6 million) from an operating loss of about 6 million euros in the previous quarter, beating the average estimate of 1.15 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Grohmann said, however, it was too early to say if SBO could book a full-year operating profit. ($1 = 0.8477 euros) (Editing by Michael Shields)

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