* Q4 EPS ex-items of 69 cts tops Wall St view of 67 cts
* Sees Q1 EPS of 63-66 cts, vs Wall St view of 63 cts
* Shares rise 4.6 pct (Adds CEO comments, outlook, updates share price)
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A sharp increase in offshore work drove Cameron International Corp’s CAM.N quarterly earnings up 69 percent, beating estimates and boosting the oilfield equipment maker to a 2 1/2 year high.
Subsea equipment orders lifted revenue, while the company delivered better-than-expected margins in its drilling and production systems business and gave a reassuringly strong outlook for 2011.
“At these oil prices, you know, there’s just a lot of interest, and there’s a lot of opportunity,” Chief Executive Officer Jack Moore said on a conference call with analysts.
In Asia, Moore saw plenty of potential off Australia and Malaysia and in the South China Sea, while prospects in the Mediterranean remained strong despite the trouble in Egypt, with work to be found off the coasts of Israel and Libya.
Moore expects Petrobras (PETR4.SA) to pull the trigger on a long-awaited order for several new rigs in Brazil in the second quarter. Cameron is targeting its investment in the country to ensure it stays competitive in what is expected to be a huge offshore market, he said.
The company said it expected a 2011 profit of $2.65 to $2.75 per share, while analysts are looking for $2.74 on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. For the first quarter, it sees earnings of 63 cents to 66 cents per share, against a Wall Street target of 63 cents.
“We believe the company’s initial 2011 earnings guidance will be viewed positively by the market,” Barclays Capital analyst James West said in a note to investors.
Fourth-quarter net profit rose to $164.6 million, or 66 cents per share, from $97.3 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, earnings were 69 cents per share, topping the analysts’ average estimate of 67 cents.
Charges in the latest quarter included a provision for litigation related to BP Plc’s (BP.L) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, since Cameron made the blowout preventer on the rig destroyed in the accident.
Cameron’s revenue rose by 23 percent to $1.81 billion.
Shares of Cameron were up 4.6 percent at $56.14 on the New York Stock Exchange, far better than the 0.8 percent gain in the Philadelphia Oil Service Index .OSX. Earlier the stock rose as high as $58.20.
Shares of two Houston-based rivals in the oilfield equipment business, FMC Technologies Inc (FTI.N) and National Oilwell Varco Inc (NOV.N), both rose less than 1 percent on Wednesday. NOV reports earnings on Thursday, while FMC Tech’s earnings will be released on Feb. 14. (Reporting by Matt Daily in New York and Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Derek Caney and Lisa Von Ahn)