(By Balaseshan) Helmerich & Payne Inc. (NYSE: HP), a contract drilling company, reported a 29.4% jump in quarterly earnings on higher drilling activity and lower rig expenses at its U.S. land operations. Results exceeded Street's expectations.
Earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter were $149.61 million or $1.39 per share, up from $121.51 million or $1.11 per share last year. This year's results included $0.03 per share of after-tax gains related to the sale of used drilling equipment.
Revenue climbed 18.4% to $829.45 million.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $1.24 per share on revenue of $812.75 million for the fourth quarter.
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Revenue from U.S. land drilling surged 18% to $695.11 million, while offshore drilling revenue increased 3.6% to $53.26 million. International land drilling revenue jumped 36% to $77.72 million, while other revenue marginally rose 0.8% to $3.36 million.
In the U.S. land operations, revenue days rose to 21,951 from 19,947, while average rig revenue per day increased to $28,325 from $26,549.
In the offshore operations, revenue days marginally declined 0.9%, while average rig revenue per day grew 14.5%. In the International land operations, revenue days jumped 23.1%, while average rig revenue per day climbed 19.1%.
As of November 15, 2012, the company's existing fleet included 289 land rigs in the U.S., 29 international land rigs and nine offshore platform rigs.
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In addition, Helmerich & Payne is scheduled to complete another 9 new H&P-designed and operated FlexRigs under long-term contracts with customers by early calendar 2013. Upon completion of these commitments, the company's global fleet is expected to have a total of 327 land rigs, including 296 FlexRigs.
HP closed Wednesday's regular session down 1.60% at $46.06. The stock has been trading between $38.71 and $68.60 for the past 52 weeks.