10-21-13 8:05 AM EDT | Email Article

Halliburton Co.'s (HAL) third-quarter earnings rose 17% as the oil-field services company's revenue growth continued to be led by its international operations, offsetting tepid growth in North America and impacts from widespread flooding in Colorado last month.

A rush of oil-services firms aiming to profit from the shale boom by providing pressure-pumping services has weighed on pricing and margins in the sector. Pressure pumping is the main step in the hydraulic fracturing process, a technique that has helped usher in a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas production.

Halliburton, which is the largest provider of pressure pumping work in the U.S., has made efforts to expand its international business as low natural-gas prices have cut into the demand for the hydraulic fracturing and drilling work it does in the U.S.

In the latest quarter, the oilfield-services company said revenue rose 1.6% in its North American operations, as operating income for the region improved 18%. In its international operations, revenue was up 13% and operating income grew 20%, led by strong growth in its Europe-Africa-CIS segment.

"During the quarter, we saw improvement in activity levels across the United States land market as drilling and completion efficiencies continue to drive an improved well count," Chairman and Chief Executive Dave Lesar said. "The United States land rig count, however, remains sluggish. Additionally, oversupply of service capacity in North America continues to put pressure on pricing in a number of areas."

However, Halliburton expects its margins to strengthen next year, Mr. Lesar said.

Halliburton reported a profit of $706 million, or 79 cents a share, up from $602 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest period included $38 million of restructuring charges and asset write-downs. Excluding restructuring-related charges and other items, adjusted earnings from continuing operations were 83 cents. Revenue increased 5.1% to $7.5 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share earnings of 82 cents and revenue of $7.5 billion.

Shares closed Friday at $52.47, and were inactive in recent premarket trading. The stock is up 51% this year.

Write to Tess Stynes at tess.stynes@wsj.com

 

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 21, 2013 08:05 ET (12:05 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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