UPDATE 1-Transocean profit tops estimates on more rig deployment

Mon Nov 5, 2012 1:23am EST

Nov 4 (Reuters) - Transocean Ltd reported a higher-than-expected adjusted profit for the third quarter as it made more efficient use of the world's largest offshore oil drilling fleet.

Including items such as an $878 million asset impairment charge for its exit from the standard shallow-water "jackup" rig market, Transocean posted a net loss of $381 million, or $1.06 per share.

Excluding one-time items, the Switzerland-based company made $1.29 per share, compared with the 76 cents per share that analysts expected on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Transocean said revenue efficiency on continuing operations, or how much it earned compared with what it could have made, rose to 94.3 percent from 92.1 percent three months before and 88.5 percent in the same quarter in 2011. It is aiming to stay above the 94 percent mark it regularly topped back in 2009.

Expectations of a settlement over the Macondo well disaster with the U.S. government by Transocean and client BP have been raised ever since Transocean announced this year a related $1 billion estimated loss. But experts believe that is unlikely with the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday.

Transocean's third-quarter net loss compared with a loss of $32 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 23 percent to $2.44 billion, below the average estimate of $2.53 billion.

Nearest rival Ensco Plc posted stronger-than-expected profits last week, while Noble Corp and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc forecast steadily rising demand for deepwater rigs a few weeks before that.

Transocean shares are down nearly 6 percent in the past three months, compared with a 2 percent drop for Noble, a 3 percent rise for Diamond, and a 7 percent increase for Ensco.

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