A Closer Look at Weatherford's Choppy Quarter

Weatherford (NYSE: WFT  ) investors have endured quite the storm over the past year. While the company is not completely in the clear, it does appear that bluer skies are ahead. That's why the company's second-quarter earnings need to be seen with eyes toward the future. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the results

Breaking down the numbers
Weatherford was able to meet analyst's modest earnings expectations of $0.15 per share and revenue of $3.86 billion. Weatherford's diversity really helped it in the quarter. Its North American revenue was down 8% over last year as the seasonal slowdown in Canada was compounded by flooding this past spring. The bright spot was its international business which saw a 12% jump in revenue from last year.

The real highlight for the quarter was its Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Pacific units which saw its revenue skyrocket 42% over last year. Asia Pacific was especially strong as the company generated its highest revenue and operating income there in its history.

In addition to weakness in Canada, Weatherford had some of the same troubles as Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) did in Latin America. Weatherford's business in the region was down 6% over last year mainly due to lower activity in Mexico. That shouldn't surprise investors, as that was one of the same areas Baker Hughes pointed out as being a trouble spot for it last quarter.

Storm clouds abating?
Weatherford did have a lot of additional one-time items as it's still trying to put its past missteps behind it. Among the charges was $153 million which represents management's best estimates of the potential settlement with the U.S. government to settle the FCPA and oil-for-food matters. It should be noted that this is just management's best guess at the moment, so more funds could be required to finally settle that issue. In addition to that, the company took several other charges relating to severance payments, legacy lump-sum contracts in Iraq and other fees. In total, the company took $234 million in charges, however, that's well below last year's $793 million in charges. Final resolution of these issues will really help the company move forward.

Looking ahead
Weatherford sees better days ahead as it expects the second half to show higher revenue and profits in North America as well as improvements in Latin America. It's not alone in that view as rival Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) expects to see the same improvements. Halliburton specifically pointed out that it expects to see second-half improvements in its Latin American business which, like Weatherford and Baker Hughes', was also affected by activity reductions in Mexico. Overall, the general consensus in the industry is that business will pick up in the second half of this year pretty much across the board. The key will be to see if Weatherford can deliver or its it will continue to be held back by its past.  

Final Foolish thoughts
It wasn't a bad quarter by Weatherford, as the company was able to meet expectations. While the business was negatively affected by a slowdown in Canada and Mexico, its other international operations picked up the slack. Overall, it appears like the company is slowly starting to turn and head in the right direction.

Still, while Weatherford might appeal to value investors as it puts its past in the past, with so many different ways to play the energy sector, it might not be your best play. Instead, you might be interested in a stock that The Motley Fool's analysts have uncovered an under-the-radar company that's dominating its industry. This company is a leading provider of equipment and components used in drilling and production operations, and poised to profit in a big way from it. To get the name and detailed analysis of this company that will prosper for years to come, check out the special free report: "The Only Energy Stock You'll Ever Need". Don't miss out on this limited-time offer and your opportunity to discover this under-the-radar company before the market does. Click here to access your report -- it's totally free.


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