UPDATE 1-Schlumberger beats on higher international drilling activity
(Adds details, CEO comments, compares with estimates)
Jan 17 (Reuters) - Schlumberger NV reported a slightly better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as higher drilling activity in international markets boosted demand for its equipment and services, offsetting weakness in North America.
International markets have been a bright spot for oilfield service providers since 2018, as U.S. oil and gas producers have cut back on drilling wells to satisfy investors seeking more buybacks and dividends.
Schlumberger, an industry bellwether, said international revenue rose 8% to $5.72 billion in the fourth quarter, while it fell 13% in North America.
"I'm encouraged by the sustained international activity growth, although conditions in North America land became more challenging," Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch said in a statement.
"We are ... confident we have turned the corner," he added, citing growth in international markets.
The company said it has been cutting costs, restructuring operations and reducing capacity to minimize the hit on margins from lower activity in North America.
Net income fell to $333 million, or 24 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $538 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.
The year-ago quarter included a gain from an asset sale.
Excluding charges and credits, net income rose to $545 million, or 39 cents per share, from $498 million, or 36 cents per share.
Analysts on average had estimated a profit of 37 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES.
Schlumberger's shares rose about 4% to $40.30 in premarket trading. (Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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