(Reuters) - Oilfield services provider Hunting Plc <HTG.L> on Thursday reinstated its dividend and reported a profit for the first half of 2018, as it saw stronger demand on the back of rising crude prices.
Hunting and other oilfield services providers are benefiting as energy producers spend more following a period of aggressive cost cuts spurred by a prolonged slump in oil prices.
The company, which makes guns used to perforate oil and gas wells in preparation for production, said it saw a an improvement in drilling in American onshore markets. For the rest of the year, Hunting expects activity to remain at current levels within U.S. onshore basins.
Operations at Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe and the Middle East as well as its exploration and production units remained loss-making, it said, while flagging the possible impact of trade tariffs on the industry.
"It is likely that geopolitical and international trading headwinds, including ongoing inter-government dialogue on trade tariffs, will continue to suppress the rate of recovery, particularly within international markets," the company said in a statement.
Hunting reported profit from operations of $38.9 million in the six months ended June 30, compared with a loss of $23.9 million a year earlier. It also declared an interim dividend of 4 cents per share.
Hunting Titan, the group's unit that operates mainly in the U.S. Permian basin, is investing to increase production capacity at its Milford and Pampa equipment manufacturing facilities, the company said.
A number of processes in the manufacture of perforating guns and energetic charges are being automated to improve efficiencies and cut costs, the company said.
(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)