January 23, 2013 / 10:16 PM / 5 years ago

Noble Corp profit hit by downtime for 5 deepwater rigs

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Noble Corp, owner of the world’s third-largest offshore drilling fleet, reported on Wednesday a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as it struggled with maintenance for five high-end rigs, even as demand for its most capable units increased.

Fourth-quarter net profit was $128 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $127 million, or 50 cents per share, a year before. Revenue grew 29 percent to $966 million. Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 61 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Chief Executive David Williams said the “inconsistent operating performance” in the quarter was due largely to five rigs that just emerged from the shipyard last year, but accounted for a third of the downtime days last quarter.

“Initial operations on these five rigs have not been as seamless as we had hoped, particularly with respect to certain critical components,” Williams said in a statement.

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