Ensco plc (NYSE: ESV) reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.04 in fourth quarter 2012, compared to $0.97 per share in fourth quarter 2011. Discontinued operations primarily related to rigs and other assets no longer on the Company’s balance sheet resulted in a loss of $0.10 per share in fourth quarter 2012. Earnings from discontinued operations in fourth quarter 2011 were $0.02 per share. Diluted earnings per share were $0.94 in fourth quarter 2012, compared to $0.99 in fourth quarter 2011.
Certain items influenced earnings per share from continuing operations comparisons year to year. Provision for income taxes in fourth quarter 2012 included $75 million, $0.33 per share, in discrete tax items including $51 million related to restructuring certain subsidiaries from the 2011 acquisition and $24 million of additional discrete tax items primarily related to adjustments of certain prior year tax positions. Professional fees, severance payments and other acquisition-related costs in fourth quarter 2011 general and administrative expense totaled approximately $8 million, $0.03 per share. In addition, fourth quarter 2011 contract drilling expense included approximately $4 million, $0.02 per share, of severance and relocation costs related to the acquisition. Adjusted for these items, fourth quarter earnings per share from continuing operations increased approximately 34% year to year to $1.37 from $1.02.
Full-year 2012 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were $5.23, compared to $3.09 per share in 2011. Discontinued operations resulted in a loss of $0.19 per share in 2012, compared to a loss of $0.01 per share in 2011. The $0.19 per share loss from discontinued operations in 2012 includes losses from asset sales and operating results during the first three quarters of 2012 that were reclassified from continuing operations to discontinued operations. Diluted earnings per share were $5.04 in 2012, compared to $3.08 in 2011.