Sat, Jan 23, 2016 - Page 15 News List

Schlumberger posts losses of more than US$1 billion

AP, HOUSTON, Texas

Schlumberger Ltd on Thursday said that it lost more than US$1 billion and slashed another 10,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of last year as tumbling energy prices took their toll on the world’s largest oilfield services company.

Schlumberger said it streamlined costs and cut 10,000 jobs during the last three months of last year “in anticipation of extended activity weakness in the first half of 2016.”

It also warned that it does not expect a turnaround soon.

The company, which has principal offices in Paris, Houston, London and The Hague, had announced at least 20,000 job reductions earlier last year and currently employs about 105,000 people.

Amid a glut, crude prices are down about 38 percent and natural gas prices are down about 27 percent from a year ago. The downturn has led energy companies to slash thousands of jobs over the past year.

Earlier on Thursday, Southwestern Energy, the third-largest natural gas producer in the US, said it would cut 1,100 jobs, about 44 percent of its workforce.

Schlumberger chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard noted that the number rigs exploring on land for oil and gas in the US fell to less than 700 at the end of last year, down 68 percent from the 2014 peak.

“The decrease in land activity was the sharpest seen since 1986,” he said.

“Massive overcapacity in the land services market offers no signs of pricing recovery in the short to medium term,” he added.

Schlumberger’s fourth-quarter results were hurt by a 39 percent drop in revenue and huge accounting charges. It posted a loss of US$1.02 billion, or US$0.81 per share.

Earnings, adjusted for nonrecurring items and asset impairment costs, came to US$0.65 per share.

The company posted revenue of US$7.74 billion in the period, which fell short of Wall Street forecasts.

Schlumberger’s shares are down 25 percent in the past year, and the company said its board authorized the repurchase of up to US$10 billion in stock. In after-hours trading, the stock added US$0.37 to US$61.80.

Schlumberger agreed over the summer to acquire Cameron International Corp in a deal then worth US$12.71 billion in cash and stock. The company expects to close the transaction in the first quarter.

For the year, the company reported profit of US$2.07 billion, or US$1.63 per share. Revenue was reported as US$35.48 billion.

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