Oil services company BJ Services Co. said Monday it posted a fiscal fourth-quarter loss as drilling plunged.
The Houston company lost $9.9 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a profit of $168.1 million, or 57 cents per share, in the same period last year.
Revenue for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 was $878.2 million, down 42 percent from $1.51 billion a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 2 cents per share on revenue of $813.8 million.
Drilling activity in the U.S. fell 51 percent in the quarter compared with the same period a year ago, the Houston company said.
North America natural gas prices "show little sign of meaningful near-term recovery," B.J. Services said.
Net income for the full year was $149.9 million, or 51 cents per share, down 75 percent from $609.4 million, or $2.06 per share.
Revenue for the year was $4.12 billion, down 23 percent from $5.36 billion from fiscal 2008. Analysts expected B.J. Services to earn 68 cents per share on revenue of $4.1 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
Chairman and CEO Bill Stewart said the company looks forward to completing its merger with rival oil services company Baker Hughes Inc. in the first quarter of 2010 and "beginning to realize the benefits of integrating these two industry leaders into a more competitive global enterprise."
Baker Hughes is seeking federal regulatory approval for its proposed $5.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of BJ Services.
Shares rose 25 cents, or 1 percent, to $18.95 in afternoon trading.