Halliburton's Profitable Eastern Tilt

For big oilfield services provider Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) , several strategic moves during the past year appear to be bearing fruit. If the trend continues, every U.S.-based company might send their CEO to work in Dubai. (Or maybe not.)

In any event, in a solid -- just short of spectacular -- quarter, Halliburton earned $690 million, up nearly 5% from $658 million year over year. The per-share line came in at $0.75, compared to $0.64 last year. Revenues in the period were up 19% to $4.2 billion.

The company's results would have been more impressive, but for the softness in North America, which has been noted by Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) and BJ Services (NYSE: BJS  ) . In Halliburton's case, while North American revenue rose 12%, operating income from the area slid by about 7%. In contrast, the company's operating income generated in the Middle East and Asia was almost 25% higher, on a nearly 30% improvement in revenue from the area.

The resurgence, though still in the early stages, results from efforts by CEO Dave Lesar to strengthen the company. For instance, recognizing that the epicenter of energy had moved to the eastern hemisphere, Lesar last year relocated his headquarters to Dubai. Mercifully, he didn't direct his entire staff and their families to follow -- but it'd difficult to convince yours truly the company's increasing success in that part of the world is not related to this initiative.

Lesar's resettlement to climes even warmer than Houston followed his company's spinoff of KBR (NYSE: KBR  ) by just a few months. The engineering and construction subsidiary had been hit by all manner of media criticism regarding the military and government business it had secured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The move permitted Halliburton to focus on its oil patch business.

Despite the challenges in North America, Halliburton appears to be lifting off. We'll know more about the company's relative strength in its industry when we see the results from Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) and deepwater drilling twins Transocean and Diamond Offshore.

For now, however, Halliburton appears to warrant lots of Foolish attention, as a seemingly undervalued member of the oilfield services contingent.

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