UPDATE 1-Weatherford posts Q4 loss, revenue ahead of estimates

Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:16pm EST

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Oilfield services company Weatherford International Ltd posted a loss on Monday for the fourth quarter, hit by a sharp decline in North American earnings, though its overall revenue came in ahead of analysts' estimates.

The company also said it expects to announce in its annual report that it has not completed the remediation of previously disclosed material weakness in its controls over past tax reporting. That issue has already led to payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes for the past five years.

Weatherford posted a fourth-quarter loss of $122 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $13 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items including the costs of the tax remediation efforts and losses associated with Iraq contracts, the company earned $8 million, or 1 cent per share.

Revenue increased 9 percent to $4.06 billion, ahead of the average estimate of $3.91 billion on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While revenue fell slightly in North America, where operating profit fell 41 percent, sales grew in all its other markets by 18 percent.

Weatherford, which four years ago moved its headquarters to Switzerland, has been actively trying to reach further beyond its traditional U.S. market.

International expansion has been a boon to industry leader Schlumberger Ltd and Halliburton Co, which both topped average fourth-quarter profit estimates as global earnings offset the effects of a North American drilling slump due to the natural gas glut there.

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