Weatherford Weathers One-Time Distractions

Darn those "special" charges. Without them, Weatherford International (NYSE: WFT  ) chalked up a solid quarter. But take them into account, and the results were somewhat less rosy.

My difficulty is that I'm not as cavalier as some about dismissing one-time items in evaluating a company's results. At Weatherford, for instance, the company earned $351 million from continuing operations. That worked out to $1.01 a share, which handily beat the $0.83 a share for the first quarter of 2007.

But if you factor in the one-time charges, earnings for the most recent quarter came to $0.76 per share. The special items related to costs were due to Weatherford's cessation of business with sanctioned countries and charges stemming from a continuing restructuring.

Taking into account the softness in the North American market that has affected Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) , Weatherford's overall geographic growth was strong. While North American revenue was up just 8% year over year, revenue from Latin America climbed by 15%, and growth in Europe/West Africa/CIS and the Middle East/North Africa/Asia were up 42% and 32%, respectively.

Weatherford is something of a one-stop shop for several types of oilfield service equipment, including lift systems and drilling assistance solutions. Because of its key role worldwide in the production of oil and gas, the company's shares have increased in value by more than 70% during the past year. In related news, Weatherford's board of directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to take place in May.

In addition to Halliburton, Weatherford is included among several energy services companies that have told us about their earnings this week. For instance, BJ Services (NYSE: BJS  ) was hindered by North American softness, while Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) increased its net by 5%, and Smith International (NYSE: SII  ) reported 14% earnings growth.

As to Weatherford's specific investment attractiveness, its role is sufficiently central to oil and natural gas production that the company should be included on the watch lists of Fools with a bent for the energy sector.

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