Halliburton Co., the world's second-largest oil services company, said on Monday that second-quarter profit from continuing operations rose 19 percent, topping Wall Street views, helped by new international contracts.
Investors pushed shares of Halliburton up about 3.5 percent to $37.88 in pre-market trading.
Earnings from continuing operations climbed to $595 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, from $498 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier.
Also included in second-quarter 2007 operating income was an after-tax gain of 3 cents a diluted share from the sale of an investment, Halliburton said.
Excluding one-time items, analysts on average had expected the company, which was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, to report a profit of 56 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Halliburton Chief Executive Dave Lesar also offered investors reassuring words about North America, the company's largest market, where there has been worry about over-capacity in the well stimulation and fracturing business. Energy companies use those services to increase production of natural gas from hard-to-reach pockets in substances like shale.
Lesar noted in a press release: We have seen a strong recovery in the United States well stimulation market from the slowdown we experienced last winter.
However, he said that the company's Canadian operations, like those of other service companies, suffered from a significant decline in drilling activity.
From our standpoint, North America wasn't great but international was so strong that they were able put these numbers up, said Roger Read, analyst with Natexis Bleichroeder. There was good profitability across the board.
The increase in 2007 second-quarter operating income was primarily generated by increased customer activity and new international contracts, the company said.
Net income for the second quarter was $1.5 billion, or $1.62 per diluted share, including a gain of $933 million from the separation of engineering and construction firm KBR Inc. (KBR.N: Quote, Profile, Research). This compares with $591 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, a year earlier.
KBR, which is the U.S. Army's largest private contractor in Iraq and has drawn scrutiny by the government for billing claims, was split off from Halliburton earlier this year.
Revenue for the company, which has headquarters in Houston and Dubai, rose 20 percent to $3.7 billion. Analysts had expected about $3.5 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
(Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston)