Helmerich & Payne logs record quarter

Helmerich & Payne logs record quarter

Tulsa-based Helmerich & Payne Inc. reported record profits Thursday for its first fiscal quarter, driven by strong demand for its drilling rigs and substantial investment income.

The company had net income of $110.79 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, from operating revenue of $386.4 million for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

That compares with net income of $50.81 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, from operating revenues of $255.39 million during last year’s first fiscal quarter.

Officials of Helmerich & Payne, an international energy driller, said the company was successful in the quarter despite declining drilling rates domestically and a softer market overall.

“We continue to experience strong demand for the H&P brand, which is based on delivering savings to our customers through high-efficiency rigs and an organization focused on safety and field execution,” said Hans Helmerich, president and CEO, in a press release.

The company’s custom drilling units, called FlexRigs, continue to be in high demand, Helmerich said. The rigs were designed by the company to be more efficient and to drill faster than conventional equipment.

H&P officials said 38 of 73 planned FlexRigs have been completed and
are operating, or are in transit to job sites.

The company expects to complete the remaining 35 rigs under the cur rent build program this year, expanding its total number of FlexRigs to 123 and its total number of U.S. land rigs to 162.

The company also was boosted by gains from its investment portfolio. Included in the first quarter net income figures were after-tax gains from the sale of securities of $16.18 million, or 15 cents per diluted share.

Last year’s first quarter net income included $1.72 million, or 2 cents per share, of investment gains.

H&P reported operating income of $146.65 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, an increase of more than 80 percent compared with $80.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

Helmerich said H&P’s program calls for building three to four FlexRigs each month and putting them into the field.

“Whereas much of the industry’s new builds and rig refurbishments will actually go to replace aging and less capable equipment, our current new build program drives an 80 percent expansion to our fleet,” he said.

“The incremental number of fully contracted new FlexRigs that we are scheduled to deliver this year will significantly contribute to earnings going forward.”

H&P’s rig fleet currently includes 127 U.S. land rigs, nine U.S. platform rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and 27 international land rigs.

Shares of H&P closed at $27.89 Thursday, up $1.06, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares are up 14 percent this year.

Source: www.tulsaworld.com

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