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Ensco's Net Zooms

Earnings nearly triple.

Ensco International's


profit almost tripled in the third quarter from the year-ago period, helped by rise in jackup's rig rates and an increase in utilization.

The Dallas-based provider of offshore drilling services to the oil and gas industry earned $214.8 million, or $1.40 a share, in the quarter, compared with $74.3 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $1.30 a share in the most recent quarter.

Third-quarter revenue rose about 78% to $489.9 million as against analysts' expectation of $480.43 million.

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The average day rate for Ensco's operating jackup rig fleet for the quarter rose 57% to $119,400 compared with corresponding period last year. Utilization of the company's jackup fleet increased to 97% in the most recent quarter, up from 85% in the same period last year.

The company also reported that it repurchased 1.25 million shares of its common stock during the third quarter at an average price of $43.54 a share as part of a $500 million share repurchase.

"We are pleased to announce our fourth consecutive record quarter," the company said. "International markets remain strong. Increases in jackup day rates from second quarter levels in both our Europe/Africa and Asia Pacific Business Units more than offset slightly lower rates for our jackup rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The average day rate for our worldwide jackup fleet in the third quarter increased sequentially by 3% over the prior quarter."

The company's shares were trading up 42 cents at $44.80 Tuesday.

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.