Halliburton adjusted profit beats estimate, helped by cost cuts

(Reuters) – Halliburton Co, the world’s No.2 oilfield services provider, reported a higher-than-expected adjusted profit for the first quarter as deep cost cuts helped cushion the impact of a drop in drilling and completion activity.

Net loss attributable to Halliburton widened to $2.41 billion (1.64 billion pound), or $2.81 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $643 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

The bigger loss was due to $2.77 billion in charges for asset impairment and other reasons amid the prolonged slump in oil prices.

Excluding these charges, Halliburton earned 7 cents per share, higher than analysts average estimate of 4 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Halliburton had, on April 22, reported a 40.5 percent fall in revenue, to $4.2 billion, for the quarter, during which it cut 6,000 jobs.

Revenue in the company’s North American business nearly halved, hurt by continued weakness in drilling activity and pricing.

Halliburton had postponed releasing its full results from April 22 to accommodate the April 30 deadline to close its acquisition of Baker Hughes Inc <BHI.N>.

The deal was called off on Sunday after opposition from U.S. and European antitrust regulators, and Halliburton is to pay Baker Hughes a $3.5 billion breakup fee.

Last week, Baker Hughes reported a bigger first-quarter loss and warned that the rig count globally would drop steadily through the end of the year because of fewer new projects.

(Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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