WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Swiss Offshore contract driller Transocean Ltd. (RIG) Friday reported a swing to fourth-quarter profit, helped by increased revenues as well as absence of hefty impairment charges recorded a year ago.
Moving forward, the company estimates capital expenditure of $3 billion for fiscal year 2013.
Transocean reported fourth-quarter net income of $456 million or $1.26 per share, compared with net loss of $6.2 billion or $18.76 per share last year.
Results for the reporting quarter included favorable discrete tax items of $101 million and $25 million income from discontinued operations.
The prior-year quarter included charges of $6.3 billion, mainly on a loss on goodwill impairment, and partly for estimated loss contingencies associated with the disastrous Macondo well incident.
Excluding items, adjusted earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were $330 million or $0.91 per share.
Revenues for the quarter were $2.33 billion, compared with $2.13 billion a year ago.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings of $0.82 per share on revenues of $2.37 billion for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
During the quarter, the company reclassified its drilling management services operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to discontinued operations, reducing other revenues and operating and maintenance expenses in the period by $51 million and $50 million, respectively.
Transocean and contractor Halliburton Co. (HAL) were among those sued by the US government following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, but legal proceedings led to BP taking the blame for the tragedy.
In January, a US District Court accepted BP's plea resolving all federal criminal charges against the company stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident. BP will pay $4 billion to the Department of Justice over a period of five years.
BP is still subject to other claims, including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources. The settlement does not include a potentially hefty penalty under the Clean Water Act, which may cost BP as much as $21 billion.
Transocean closed Friday at $52.15, down 0.29%, on a volume of 3.4 million shares on the NYSE.
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