Grant Prideco

(GRP)

, oilfield equipment and services provider to the oil and gas industry worldwide, said its first-quarter earnings more than doubled from a year earlier.

The company earned $92.4 million, or 69 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $36.7 million, or 29 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 58 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

First-quarter revenue rose 41.9% from a year ago to $414.4 million, on increased drilling activity worldwide.

The company expects to earn 66 cents a share to 68 cents a share, excluding any unusual items, in the second quarter and $2.75 a share to $2.85 a share in the year 2006. Analysts were expecting earnings of 62 cents a share and $2.61 a share for the first quarter and full year 2006.

"Pricing and mix improved at every segment driving sequential incremental margins of 85%. Each of our three primary operating segments reported operating income margins in excess of 30%, and our total backlog increased to over $1 billion, a 24% sequential increase, which provides strong forward visibility," the company said.

First-quarter operating income rose 83.9% from a year ago to $114.4 million and operating margin increased 631 basis points to 27.6%.

By segment, first-quarter revenue from drilling products and services segment rose 51% from a year ago to $194.3 million, operating income for the segment increased 79% from a year ago to $65.0 million and operating margin increased by 500 basis points to 33%. Backlog for the segment increased to $871.1 million at the end of the quarter. Revenue from drill bits segment rose 29% from a year ago to $116.8 million, operating income increased by 64% from a year ago to $35.6 million and operating margin increased by 600 basis points to 30%. Revenue from tubular technology and services segment rose 41% from a year ago to $103.3 million, operating income increased by more than 100% from a year ago to $31.2 million and operating margin increased by 900 basis points to 30%.

During the quarter, the company repurchased 522,500 shares of its stock at a total purchase price of $20.1 million.

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