Pride International Earnings Rise

It notches 30% year-over-year growth.
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Drilling contractor Pride International (PDE) said third-quarter earnings rose 29.6% from the year-ago period, helped by improved pricing of its international jackups, midwater semi-submersibles and onshore operations.

The company earned $89.3 million, or 52 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $68.9 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. Third-quarter results include gains on asset sales of $2.9 million and expenses of $3.1 million relating to the audit committee's ongoing investigation. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 40 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

Third-quarter revenue rose 19.3% from a year ago to $642.8 million as against analysts' expectations of $626.1 million.

"Our third-quarter earnings, the highest in the company's history, were the result of the continuing momentum of increasing day rates more than offsetting ongoing shipyard projects during the quarter. While the U.S. Gulf of Mexico market is experiencing near-term softness, we expect increased drilling demand, coupled with decreased rig supply, to positively affect dayrates in 2007 in the region. Internationally, we continue to see evidence of an extended period of robust drilling demand, especially among our semisubmersible fleet, where opportunities to contract long term at attractive dayrates are available," the Houston-based company said.

Third-quarter operating income rose to $155.6 million, compared with $119.8 million a year ago. Operating margin for the quarter increased 200 basis points to 24.2%.

Revenue from the offshore segment rose 16.7% to $398.4 million; from the Latin America land segment it increased 27.3% to $161.8 million; sales from E&P Services rose 14.8% to $55.2 million.

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