(Bloomberg) — Baker Hughes Co. tumbled by the most in two years after warning that sales in Russia would continue to erode amid sanctions on the warring nation.
The world’s No. 2 oilfield contractor has struggled to move people and equipment into Russia, one of the biggest oil-producing nations, executives said during a first-quarter earnings call.
The company offered a rare glimpse of the challenges that a Western energy company faces as it continues to work in Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine seven weeks ago. While the Houston company announced last month an end to future investment in the country, it didn’t follow Halliburton Co. in winding down current work.
Baker Hughes shares fell as much as 10.7% before paring losses. The stock was traded down 6% at 11:10 a.m. in New York.
“Sanctions from the U.S., U.K., and EU continue to evolve and are evolving and are making ongoing operations increasingly complex and a bit more difficult,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Worrell said on the call with analysts. “We do have inventory in the country, but, given the sanctions, are unable to import key technologies for some of the services.”
Baker Hughes reported earnings that missed analysts’ expectations as it suffers from supply chain snarls and uncertainty in Russia, which represented about 4% of the company’s total revenue in the quarter. It also posted a surprise loss of $8 million in its oilfield equipment business, but reported better-than-expected orders of $739 million for new gear in the division.
“All things considered, not a horrible outcome in a challenging supply chain environment,” analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. wrote Wednesday in a note to investors. “But not one that’s likely to turn heads either.”
While service companies have seen their clients raking in record free cash flow, the contractors that provide the manpower to find oil and drill the wells have lagged behind financially as they navigate supply chain snarls and attempt to pass on cost inflation in the form of higher service prices.
The company reported earnings of 15 cents a share, excluding certain items, while analysts expected 19 cents. Smaller rival Halliburton reported results a day earlier that met analysts’ expectations while boosting its estimate for client spending in North America this year.
Baker Hughes said the war in Ukraine will accelerate the efforts toward diversifying energy sources and transition away from the most polluting fuels. It said Europe’s search for energy suppliers other than Russia sped up discussion about new LNG projects. Baker Hughes supplies turbines used by liquefied natural gas producers.
The company said some of its Middle East and North America clients are talking about increasing their spending plans in response to the volatile supplies of crude from Russia.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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