Transocean Posts Quarterly Profit on Better Efficiency

Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the world’s largest offshore rig contractor, posted a second-quarter profit after running its vessels more efficiently during a surge in demand from explorers.

Net income of $307 million, or 84 cents a share, compares with a net loss of $304 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier, Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, the company matched the $1.08 average of 37 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. In addition to a $750 million charge related to the Macondo oil spill, last year’s results were affected by maintenance and repair costs as more vessels were contracted.

The number of rigs operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico climbed 9 percent to an average of 49 during the second quarter from 45 a year earlier, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)

“As rigs were getting back to work in the Gulf of Mexico post-Macondo, there were a lot of growing pains as issues would arise,” Trey Stolz, an analyst at Iberia Capital Partners in New Orleans, said in a phone interview before the results were released. “A year later, a lot of those growing pains have subsided and rigs are operating more efficiently as a lot of the equipment issues have been addressed over time,” said Stolz, who rates the shares the equivalent of a buy and owns none.

Shareholders voted at their annual meeting in May in favor of one of billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s three board nominees, while rejecting his dividend plan in favor of a lower payout supported by the company.

Transocean owned the $365 million Deepwater Horizon rig that was destroyed in the BP Plc (BP/) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company employed nine of the 11 workers who died in the April 2010 disaster.

The earnings statement was released after the close of regular trading in New York. Transocean rose less than 1 percent to $48.48 at the close. The shares have 23 buy ratings from analysts, 20 holds and 2 sells.

(Transocean scheduled a conference call for tomorrow at 10 a.m. New York time, accessible at http://www.deepwater.com.)

To contact the reporter on this story: David Wethe in Houston at dwethe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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