UPDATE 1-Cal Dive Q4 profit misses Street; sees Q1 loss

Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:17pm EST

* Q4 EPS $0.03 vs est of $0.08

* Rev falls 44 pct, misses estimates

* Sees Q1 loss, "challenging" H1 2010

* Sees markets improving in H2 2010

* Shares down 6 pct after-market

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Offshore energy services company Cal Dive International Inc (DVR.N) reported fourth-quarter earnings below estimates, and said continued low activity levels would likely lead to a first-quarter loss, sending its shares down 6 percent.

"We do anticipate a challenging market during the first half of 2010 and our earnings for that period to be well below that of the corresponding period for 2009," Chief Executive Quinn Hébert said, adding that the first quarter activity levels would be the slowest of the year.

The company, however, added that conditions would likely improve by the second half of the year.

For the latest fourth quarter, the company reported a profit of $2.8 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with earnings of $46.1 million, or 43 cents a share, last year.

Revenue fell 44 percent to $147.4 million.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 8 cents a share, on revenue of about $177.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Cal Dive shares were down 6 percent at $6.80 in post-market trade, after having closed at $7.20 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Adveith Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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