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Baker Says Iraq Suspension Hit Fourth-Quarter Profit

Source: Reuters 1/10/2014, Location: Middle East

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Baker Hughes Inc, the world's third-largest oilfield services company, estimated fourth-quarter profit well below Wall Street expectations, largely due to the suspension of its operations in Iraq following a protest.

Baker Hughes shares fell 1.6 percent to $51.00 in trading before the bell.

Baker Hughes halted operations in Iraq in November and issued force majeure notices to customers after a protest at a facility near the southern town of Basra.

Offices at larger rival Schlumberger Ltd's drilling site in the Basra region were wrecked in November by angry Shi'ite Muslim workers and tribesmen, who accused a foreign security adviser of insulting their religion.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said on Friday its operating profit margins were also hit in the quarter as weather-related delays led to lower activity in the United States and North Sea.

The company is scaling up its global operations after weak natural gas prices weighed on demand for pressure pumping services in North America last year.

Baker Hughes estimated adjusted earnings per share to be between 60 cents and 62 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The company said the disruption cost it about $80 million, or 18 cents per share.

Analysts on average expect the company to earn 82 cents in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Baker Hughes will announce its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 21.

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