Hunting posts lower first-half revenue in its biggest unit, margins shrink

(Reuters) - British oilfield services firm Hunting Plc HTG.L posted a slight rise in first-half core profit on Thursday, but a drop in revenue at its biggest unit and shrinking margins sent its shares down nearly 5% to 410 pence.

Its underlying core earnings for the six months ended June 30 rose to $77.4 million from $72.6 million a year earlier, helped by strong demand for its oil and gas pipeline equipment and offshore products in the United States.

However, revenue from its biggest unit, Hunting Titan, fell 5% to $206.1 million as it sold off excess inventory and cut prices for some products. This led to the core profit margin slipping 1 basis point to 15%.

“Given the volatile market and global economic conditions will continue to update investors regularly on the group’s performance for the balance of the year,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Johnson said.

First-half revenue rose to $508.9 million from $442.8 million a year earlier, with revenue from the United States, the group’s second largest reporting segment, jumping 23% to $181.1 million.

The company, whose clients include Halliburton HAL.N, Chevron CVX.L, Anadarko APC.N, and Kuwait Oil Company, said it continued to see slower pace of activity within the U.S. onshore drilling market as clients cut spending.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur