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Parker Drilling takes 4Q loss as revenue slumps

HOUSTON (AP) -- Drilling contractor and oilfield services company Parker Drilling posted a fourth-quarter loss Thursday, as revenue decreased and it took a sizable charge to resolve a federal corruption investigation.

Parker's revenue fell 13 percent during the quarter as its biggest businesses, international drilling and oil and gas rental tools, both slumped. Earlier this month the company said competition for rental tools had increased and demand for barge drilling rigs had fallen because of a drilling slowdown in the U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico. International rig utilization rates are also weak.

Shares of Parker Drilling lost 77 cents, or 12.2 percent, to $5.11 in afternoon trading.

The company said Friday that it would take a charge of $15.9 million, or 13 cents per share, to resolve an investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act is used to prosecute companies overseas for illegal activity, usually related to bribery.

Parker said it lost $20.1 million, or 17 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. A year ago it took a loss of $90.2 million, or 77 cents per share. Revenue fell to $157.2 million from $181.1 million.

Excluding the settlement costs and other one-time items, Parker lost 3 cents per share.

Analysts expected an adjusted profit of 2 cents per share on $153 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Rental tools revenue fell 13 percent to $55.7 million. U.S. barge drilling revenue rose to $29.4 million from $22.9 million, while international drilling revenue dropped 24 percent to $67.6 million. Parker reported $1.4 million from its U.S. drilling business, which recently began operations. Technical services revenue fell to $3.1 million from $5.1 million.

Parker said use of rental tools has improved over the last two months, barge utilization has increased from the fourth quarter and rates are improving.