Baker Hughes trims first quarter losses

The Houston oil field services firm Baker Hughes continued to deeply cut costs and trim losses in the first quarter this year as its revenues fell.

Baker Hughes posted $129 million in losses on Tuesday, compared to losses of  nearly $1 billion in  the first quarter last year. The company slashed expenses by more than $900 million or almost 30 percent over the year to $2.29 billion. Revenues, meanwhile, fell by $400 million or 15 percent to $2.26 billion.

Losses per share improved to 30 cents from $2.22 in the first quarter of last year.

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Executives lauded the progress.

“Baker Hughes delivered another sequential quarter of improved adjusted operating profit, despite industry headwinds in certain market segments,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Martin Craighead.

Craighead said the company grew its North American onshore well construction business, particularly drill bits and rotary steerable systems, but that growth was offset by lost revenues from its hydraulic fracturing division — which it broke off into a separate company last year — and reduced customer spending in the Gulf of Mexico.

Baker is in the midst of a $32 billion merger with industrial manufacturing giant GE.