Diamond Offshore profit beats estimates on lower costs

Diamond Offshore operating expenses fell nearly 60 per cent in Q1

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Diamond Offshore scrapped its dividend, retired assets and scaled back drilling to cope with the oil price slump.  OffshoreEnergyToday.com photo.

May 2 (Reuters) – Rig contractor Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its ongoing cost-cutting measures pay off.

The company has scrapped its dividend, retired assets and scaled back drilling to cope with a more-than 60 percent fall in oil prices since mid-2014.

Diamond Offshore said on Monday its total operating expenses fell nearly 60 percent to $359 million in the first quarter ended March 31.

The Houston-based company reported a 39.3 percent fall in contract drilling expenses to $212.8 million.

Loews Corp, which owns a majority stake in Diamond Offshore, reported a marginal fall in profit for the first quarter.

Loews, controlled by New York’s wealthy Tisch family, was hurt by lower earnings at its largest unit, multiline insurer CNA Financial Corp.

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Land rig contractor Helmerich and Payne Inc said on Monday its net income fell to $21.2 million, or 19 cents per share, in the second quarter ended March 31, from $153.5 million, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier.

H&P said it expects revenue days, or activity in its U.S. onshore business, to fall by about 25-28 percent during the current quarter from the second quarter.

Diamond Offshore also named former Halliburton Co executive Kelly Youngblood as chief financial officer, effective from May 3, replacing Gary Krenek.

The company reported a net profit of $87.4 million, or 64 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $255.7 million, or $1.86 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 27 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue fell 24.1 percent to $470.5 million.

Up to Friday’s close, company stock had fallen nearly 28 percent in the past 12 months, in line with the S&P 500 Oil & Gas Drilling index.

(Reporting by Manish Parashar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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