July 26, 2012 / 1:52 AM / 5 years ago

Ensco profit triples on oil rig demand

(Reuters) - Ensco Plc (ESV.N), owner of the world’s second-largest offshore drilling fleet, said on Wednesday its quarterly profit more than tripled, boosted by its $7.3 billion acquisition of Pride last year and strengthening demand for oil rigs.

The London-based company said second-quarter net profit rose to $342.7 million, or $1.47 per share, from $102 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.41 per share.

Revenue grew to $1.072 billion from $564.2 million a year before.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $1.25 per share, on revenue of $1.08 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We ordered two additional drillships that will extend the substantial earnings growth we achieved this quarter well into the future,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun said in a statement.

Rival Noble Corp (NE.N) gave an upbeat outlook for offshore drilling worldwide last week as it reported a tripling of second-quarter profit. Noble and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (DO.N) both said the industry was already close to being sold out of available deepwater rigs for next year.

Ensco shares have lagged rivals so far in 2012, rising 5 percent compared with gains of between 16 percent and 18 percent for Diamond, Noble, Seadrill (SDRL.OL) and sector leader Transocean Ltd (RIG.N).

Earlier on Wednesday, Seadrill landed a $4 billion deal in the Gulf of Mexico for three drillships that will start work in the second half of 2013.

Shares of Ensco closed at $49.48 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Chris Gallagher; Additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco

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