Halliburton (HAL +5.1%) CEO Dave Lesar says he is determined to raise prices for the company's services to boost profits after seeing North American sales rise for the first time during the oil price downturn.
"In the U.S., we believe we now have the highest market share we’ve ever had," Lesar said in today's earnings conference call. "At this point, if we have to give some of it back to move margins up, we might take that approach."
CFO Mark McCollum emphasized the point, saying "We’re definitely going to need some price to get back toward the historic margins that we’ve had in the past. We’re going to be pushing as hard as we can to get back to 20% as quick as we can."
HAL’s Q3 margin of operating loss was 4.1% but that was better than expected, UBS analyst Angie Sedita says, as "impressive cost controls across all regions led to higher margins across the board with operating income 65% above our forecasts. We view the results as a modest positive for the stock."