Parker Drilling settles bribery charges, sees fourth-quarter loss

Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:11am EST

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Parker Drilling Co said it reached a settlement with U.S. regulators investigating charges of bribery in Kazakhstan and Nigeria, and estimated a surprise loss for the fourth quarter.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission staff and the U.S. Department of Justice ends a three-year investigation that found Parker Drilling had potentially made illegal payments to a government official in Kazakhstan, and used an individual agent in Nigeria in connection with some customs-related issues, the company said in regulatory filings.

According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, analysts were expecting the company to report a profit of 5 cents per share on Feb. 21, when it is scheduled to announce its results.

Excluding the charge, fourth-quarter adjusted loss was 3 to 5 cents per share, Parker Drilling said.

Parker, which provides contract drilling and related services, took a charge of $15.85 million, or 13 cents per share, in the quarter over the settlement.

The company said its international operations were also hurt by lower rig utilization in the fourth quarter, while its U.S. operations saw weak demand for barge drilling rigs and increased competition in the rental tools business.