UPDATE 2-National Oilwell profit jumps, beats Street view
* Q2 EPS ex-items 97 cts vs Wall St view 93 cts
* Backlog slips again, has now halved in just over a year
* Shares rise 3 pct in early trading (Adds executive and analyst comments, share price, byline)
By Braden Reddall
SAN FRANCISCO, July 29 (Reuters) - National Oilwell Varco Inc (NOV.N), the largest U.S. oilfield equipment supplier, posted an 82 percent jump in quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts, while its backlog of orders slipped again.
NOV said on Thursday second-quarter net profit rose to $401 million, or 96 cents per share, from $220 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 2 percent to $2.94 billion.
Excluding one-time items, earnings of 97 cents per share topped the 93 cents that analysts had forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of NOV rose 3 percent to $38.46 in early trading, and Pritchard analyst Brian Uhlmer said he could not see any reason to change his $60 price target following the results.
As of Wednesday's close, the stock was down 15 percent this year, versus an 8 percent fall in the Philadelphia Stock Exchange oil service index .OSX.
NOV's backlog of capital equipment orders at the end of the second quarter was $4.9 billion, down from $5.4 billion three months earlier and $9.6 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2009.
On top of the operational "headwinds" from the Gulf of Mexico spill, the Houston-based company's outlook has been hit by delays in a few dozen new rig awards from Brazil's Petrobras (PETR4.SA), which NOV is expecting to arrive by early 2011.
"It is not happening at the speed which we'd all like, but in my experience in the international arena in 30 years in this business, nothing really happens at the speed I would like," Chief Executive Pete Miller told analysts on a conference call.
As past orders out of Brazil continue to flow through, NOV added one Brazilian rig equipment award in the second quarter, and said two more would flow into backlog this quarter.
Chief Financial Officer Clay Williams said rig technology revenue would be flat in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, while margins would slip to the "mid to high" 20 percent range.
Miller said NOV is accelerating the launch of a new blow-out preventer as the industry scrutinizes that equipment following the rupture of the BP Plc (BP.L) Gulf of Mexico well in April.
NOV is also gearing up to equip the growing number of companies developing shale plays in the United States and elsewhere, particularly in Europe. [ID:nLDE62B1M7]
"Supplying the picks and shovels and other oilfield hardware they need is NOV's specialty," Williams said. (Reporting by Matt Daily in New York and Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Derek Caney and John Wallace)
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