Weatherford to boost job cuts to 11,000

HOUSTON – Weatherford International says it plans to bump its job cuts from 10,000 to 11,000, about 20 percent of its workforce, with the increase coming mostly from its U.S. support staff.

The oil field services firm, based in Switzerland with main offices in Houston, said the layoffs come as the North American market continues to weaken. It had completed all but 3 percent of its previously announced cut of 10,000 jobs, it said in its second-quarter earnings release late Wednesday.

“The aggregate results of these measures will help mitigate the effects of the downturn, while at the same time, take advantage of the opportunity to develop a leaner structure and a tighter organization,” the company said.

It also closed three manufacturing and service facilities in the second quarter, and has shuttered 60 percent of its operating facilities in North America so far, and plans to close 30 more facilities by the end of the year.

The company’s second-quarter profits came in at a net loss of $489 million, or a loss of 63 cents a share, compared to a loss of $145 million, or 19 cents a share, in the April-June period last year. Revenues fell from $3.7 billion to $2.4 billion.

The company’s North American sales fell the most, dropping 51 percent to $808 million. Its Middle Eastern revenue declined 11 percent to $516 million; Latin American sales fell 11 percent to $463 million; European and Russian sales declined 25 percent to $418 million.

“The second quarter was a very difficult one to navigate,” Weatherford CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner said in a written statement. He pointed out North American revenues declined 30 percent compared to the first quarter, outperforming the 40 percent decline in active rigs.

“Market conditions will not improve significantly in the balance of the year,” Duroc-Danner said. “There will be modest activity increases in North America and selecte international geographies but these will not be material. In this environment, we expect to grow market share internationally and benefit from better operating economics in the U.S.”

The company expects to save $700 million annually after its cost cuts.