Baker Hughes Profit Rises as North American Margins Improve


April 17 (Reuters) - Baker Hughes Inc, the world's third-largest oilfield services company, posted better-than-expected results as revenue in its core North American business rose nearly 7 percent, sending its shares up about 4 percent in premarket trading.

Net income attributable to Baker Hughes rose to $328 million, or 74 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $267 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 84 cents per share.

Revenue rose nearly 10 percent to $5.73 billion. Revenue in North America rose to $2.78 billion.

Revenue from the Middle East and Asia Pacific jumped 24 percent to $1.11 billion.

North America margins improved by 200 basis points on an adjusted profit, despite a drop in well count caused by severe winter weather in the Rockies and northeast United States.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 78 cents on revenue of $5.71 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Baker Hughes' Latin America revenue fell 10 percent to $530 million.

Bigger rival Schlumberger Ltd on Thursday reported a quarterly profit that beat estimates for the tenth straight quarter but revenue fell short of expectations, hurt by lower drilling and pricing pressure in Latin America.

Baker Hughes shares, which touched a near three-year high of $66.55 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, rose to $69 in premarket trading on Thursday.

They have risen about 24 percent in the past three months, outperforming bigger rivals Halliburton Co and Schlumberger. Halliburton has risen 19 percent, while Schlumberger has gained about 14 percent in the same period.

(Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Robin Paxton and Don Sebastian)


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