Baker Hughes sticks to oilfield activity recovery prediction after weak quarter

Oilfield equipment and services provider Baker Hughes Co (BKR.N) top boss on Wednesday reiterated he is “cautiously optimistic” about oil demand recovering this year from the coronavirus blow, echoing a view he shared on the company’s last earnings call.

The company reported a 40% fall in first-quarter adjusted profit, compared to the fourth, as the pandemic’s hit on fuel demand lingers, weighing on demand for oilfield equipment and services lower.

“We expect spending and activity levels to gain momentum through the year as the macro environment improves, likely setting up the industry for stronger growth in 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Simonelli said in a statement.

Even though oil prices have recovered from the lows hit last year, producers across the globe are vowing spending restraint and pledging to hold production flat, hitting business prospects for companies like Baker Hughes and rivals Schlumberger (SLB.N) and Halliburton (HAL.N).

Baker Hughes said its adjusted operating income fell to $270 million in the three months ended March 31, from $462 million in the fourth quarter.

It also posted a net loss attributable to the company of $452 million, compared with a $653 million profit in the fourth quarter, attributing it to an unrealized loss on its investment in C3.ai, a software company.

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