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Halliburton Tops Analysts' Estimates; Profit Up 19%

Oil services company Halliburton Sunday said third-quarter net profit rose 19 percent, helped by a tax benefit and new international contracts.

The company , which has headquarters in Houston and Dubai, reported a net profit of $727 million, or 79 cents a diluted share, compared with $611 million, or 58 cents a diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Results for the 2007 third quarter include a favorable income tax impact of $133 million, or 15 cents per diluted share and a charge of $21 million, or 2 cents per share for reserves related to environmental matters.

Consolidated revenue in the quarter climbed 16 percent from a year ago to $3.9 billion.

Excluding the tax benefit and one-time charge, Halliburton earn 66 cents per diluted share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 64 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

"I am pleased with the continuing very strong performance of our Eastern Hemisphere operations this quarter," Dave Lesar, Halliburton's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

As a result of the company's efforts to increase its business in the Eastern Hemisphere, revenue grew 29 percent, operating income gained 40 percent and margins were up 24 percent from a year earlier, Lesar said.

This year, Halliburton and others with big exposure to North American markets have been hurt by overcapacity in the pressure pumping market and a slowdown in drilling in Canada.

Earlier this year, Halliburton moved its CEO to Dubai in a bid to win more contracts in faster-growing, more profitable international markets.

Halliburton's revenue rose 6 percent to $1.847 billion in North America, while operating income fell 13 percent to $497 million, hit by storm delays in the Gulf of Mexico and pricing declines in the U.S. land market.

In the Middle East and Asia, Halliburton's revenue rose to 28 percent to $693 million and operating income was $182 million, up 31 percent from a year ago.