ZUG, Switzerland (TheStreet) -- Transocean (RIG) - Get Report announced Wednesday that its profit fell by a third from a year ago, while revenue dropped 11%, as the recession ate into demand for energy exploration.
The company has focused recently on what's considered the more lucrative area of the offshore-drilling business: exploring for oil and gas in deep water. Indeed, Transocean made some hay with that strategy in its latest quarter, saying that several new deepwater drillships boosted its revenue by $108 million compared with the second period of 2009.
Earlier this week, Transocean provided its monthly fleet summary, saying it was able to contract out an idled midwater rig, a segment that has suffered from softening rates. The company has idled many of its mid and shallow-water rigs this year. Deepwater, on the other hand, has become the hot spot over the last few years, with even traditional dry-bulk shipping outfit
attempting to get in on the action.
Year-over-year comparisons remain difficult for Transocean. Excluding a set of charges that amounted to 46 cents a share, the company posted earnings of $2.65 a share. Analysts were, on average, looking for EPS of $2.67 a share, though some forecasts were as high as $2.76 and others as low as $2.61.
Including the charges, which involved write-downs on the value of assets as well as legal costs, Transocean reported a bottom line of $710 million, or $2.19 a share. A year ago, the company earned $1.06 billion, or $3.30 a share
Revenue in the quarter came to $2.8 billion, about even with analysts' estimates, but below last year's $3.2 billion.
Transocean shares were trading nearly flat Wednesday, recently changing hands at $85.67, down 24 cents.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.