November 13, 2012 / 12:25 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Weatherford earnings down, sees 4th quarter below St

Nov 12 (Reuters) - Oilfield services company Weatherford International Ltd posted a drop in quarterly pre-tax earnings on Monday as it booked charges for lower inventory value and for professional fees related to its massive tax remediation efforts.

That process, which has already led to hundreds of millions of dollars of additional expenses for the past five years, had forced the company to delay filing its second-quarter accounts with U.S. securities regulators until the end of November.

Weatherford also gave an estimate on Monday for fourth-quarter earnings per share of 20 cents, compared with the average analyst estimate of 28 cents according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its third-quarter operating earnings grew in all regions except North America, where they fell 16 percent from a year ago.

Last month, larger rival Schlumberger Ltd relied on its broad geographic reach to beat third-quarter profit estimates, though Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc both fell victim to the knock-on effects of the North American natural gas glut on services pricing.

Weatherford, based in Switzerland, is reporting earnings on a pre-tax basis because it is still working through the “material weakness” in its internal controls over tax reporting.

The company said it plans to file accounts for the first nine months of this year, along with restated numbers for several periods before that, by the end of this month.

Weatherford made a third quarter pre-tax profit of $191 million, down from $270 million a year before. Excluding a $29 million charge for reducing the carrying value of inventory, $27 million for the tax-related fees and two other items, the company made $264 million, down from $288 million a year before.

Revenue increased 13 percent to $3.82 billion, short of the average estimate of $3.9 billion.

For the second quarter, Weatherford restated earnings to include $589 million in non-cash goodwill impairment charges in its Middle East and African regions and a $204 million writedown of certain investments.

Excluding all charges, the company said it had made a pre-tax profit of $146 million in the second quarter. That compares with the before tax and pre-charges profit figure of $276 million it reported in July.

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