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Helmerich & Payne Beats Estimates

First-quarter profit rises 30%.

Oil-well driller

Helmerich & Payne's

(HP) - Get Helmerich & Payne, Inc. Report

fiscal 2006 first-quarter profit rose by 30%, thanks to better operating performance.

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The Tulsa, OKla.-based company reported a profit of $49.09 million, or 93 cents a share, in the quarter compared to $17.75 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were forecasting 78 cents a share. The general and administrative expense included $2.7 million of pretax stock-based compensation costs.

Revenue increased by 46.2% to $255.39 million, higher than the consensus estimate of $240.28 million. Operating profit margin jumped to 31.3% from 17.7%.

The company said that it has orders from 14 exploration and production companies for 54 new FlexRigs. The total investment is estimated at $609 million.

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