* Adj second-quarter profit 74 cents/share vs 45 cents
* Revenue rises 10 pct to $2.58 bln, costs up 5 pct
* $750 mln in Macondo estimated cost adds to $1 bln in Q4
* Shares rise 20 cents after hours to $48
By Braden Reddall
Aug 1 Transocean Ltd posted
higher-than-expected revenue on Wednesday but made a loss as the
contract driller took an extra $750 million charge related to a
potential settlement for the Macondo well disaster in the Gulf
Transocean said operating and maintenance costs rose 5
percent in the second quarter to $1.6 billion as a result of rig
maintenance, a persistent challenge for the owner of the world's
largest offshore drilling fleet.
Expectations of a potential settlement by Transocean and its
client on Macondo, BP Plc, have been raised ever since
Transocean announced in late February a $1 billion estimated
loss it booked for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Speculation picked up in late June after the U.S. Congress
removed an obstacle to settling legal claims from the 2010
spill, when it approved a spending plan for the billions of
dollars it expects the government to collect.
UBS analyst Angie Sedita expected much of the focus for
investors to be on the Macondo settlement reserves, which she
said now totaled $1.95 billion, below initial estimates of
between $2 billion and $4 billion.
As for the results, Sedita said costs came in under her
estimate. She had been targeting the lower end of the company's
full-year forecast costs of $6.15 billion to $6.35 billion, and
said that range might come down during Transocean's conference
call on Thursday.
The company reported on Wednesday a second-quarter net loss
of $304 million, or 86 cents per share, compared with a profit
of $124 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding the $750 million estimated loss contingency for
Macondo and other items, it earned 74 cents per share compared
with the average estimate of 45 cents on Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S. Revenue grew 10 percent to $2.58 billion, above the
average estimate of $2.49 billion.
Among the other items was a $64 million gain on the sale of
four shallow-water rigs. The company has already matched its
2011 total of five jackup sales this year, and is targeting up
to $1 billion worth of 2012 disposals.
Transocean shares rose 20 cents to $48 in after-hours
trading, after having gained 2.1 percent in the regular session.
Transocean said its revenue efficiency, or how much it
earned compared with what it could have made, rose to 92.5
percent from 90.6 percent after dipping below 90 percent last
year. The company is targeting a gradual improvement toward
somewhere around the 94 percent level of 2009.
Growing demand for rigs has tightened up the market across
the board. Last month, Noble Corp and Diamond Offshore
Drilling Inc, two of the top five global rig contractors,
beat profit expectations and said strong demand had whittled
down the number of available rigs for 2013 to near zero.