Transocean posts 4Q profit as charges decrease

Transocean posts 4th-quarter profit after loss on big impairment charge a year ago

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Transocean Ltd., the offshore rig owner that agreed to pay $1.4 billion in penalties related to its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said Friday that it turned a profit in the fourth quarter.

The Swiss company's revenue grew 9 percent compared to a year ago. It also recorded some one-time tax benefits and additional income from the sale of shallow-water rigs. Net income surpassed Wall Street forecasts, while its revenue was slightly lower than expected. A year ago Transocean's fourth-quarter results included more than $6 billion in special charges, including a $5.2 billion goodwill impairment charge.

Transocean reported net income of $456 million, or $1.26 per share. A year earlier it took a loss of $6.17 billion, or $18.76 per share. Excluding one-time items, the company made 91 cents per share in the recent quarter. Revenue rose to $2.33 billion from $2.13 billion.

Analysts expected 82 cents per share and $2.36 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which exploded and sank over BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The accident killed 11 workers and spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill. In January Transocean agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act, to pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties related to the disaster.

A separate trial aims to identify the causes of BP's Macondo well blowout and assign percentages of fault to the companies involved.

BP leased the rig from Transocean. It has already agreed to pay $4 billion in criminal penalties and pleaded guilty 14 criminal counts, including 11 felony counts of manslaughter. Transocean said in September that it rejected settlement offers last year from BP and a group of lawyers representing Gulf Coast residents and businesses who blame the spill for economic damage. Those claims also are pending.

For all of 2012 Transocean took a loss of $219 million, or 62 cents per share. It lost $5.75 billion, or $17.88 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose 15 percent, to $9.20 billion.

Shares of Transocean fell 15 cents to close at $52.15.

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