HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Offshore drilling company Seahawk Drilling Inc. fell to a loss for the third quarter as revenue fell and it recorded significant charges related to its spinoff from Pride International Inc.

The Houston-based company, spun off into a separately traded company in August, reported a loss of $32.4 million, or $2.79 per share, compared with a profit of $43.6 million, or $3.77 per share, a year ago.

The results included asset impairment charges of $32.1 million, or $1.80 per share for the discontinued platform business, which was sold in May 2008.

Continuing operations, excluding severance charges and transition costs due to the spin-off, saw a loss of $6.7 million, or 58 per share.

Revenue fell 59 percent to $67.6 million from $164 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to lose $1.65 per share. They typically exclude one-time losses and gains.

Shares fell 4 cents to $28.50 in afternoon trading.

The company's Gulf of Mexico business in the United States recorded an operating loss of $42.1 million compared with a profit of $17.9 million a year ago. U.S. revenue fell to $8.4 million, down from $62.2 million a year ago.

In Mexico, the company reported profit of $821,000 for the quarter compared with $51.3 million a year ago. Revenue fell to $59.3 million from $101.8 million a year ago.

CEO Randall Stilley said business in the United States is increasing with 23 contracted jackups in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 14 a few months ago.

"We are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2010, and it appears that many customers now want to take advantage of improved natural gas prices and reduced well costs," he said.
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