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Diamond Offshore 4Q profit falls

HOUSTON (AP) -- Diamond Offshore's fourth-quarter profit fell 17.4 percent as it took a big accounting charge related to getting four drilling rigs ready for sale.

Net income was $155.7 million, or $1.12 per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That's down from $188.5 million, or $1.36 per share, during the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose slightly to $750.5 million, from $748.4 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of $1.10 per share on revenue of $739.5 million.

The quarter included a charge of 29 cents per share for reclassifying four of its semisubmersible rigs as held for sale.

President and CEO Larry Dickerson said that the company is focused on controlling expenses. General and administrative expenses fell 9 percent to $14.8 million.

For the full year, Diamond Offshore earned $720.5 million, or $5.18 per share. Its net income fell 25 percent from its 2011 profit of $962.5 million, or $6.92 per share. Revenue fell 10.1 percent to $2.99 billion, from $3.32 billion in 2011.

The Houston company also declared a special quarterly cash dividend of 75 cents per share along with a regular dividend of 12.5 cents per share. Both are payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on Feb. 19. It said it will consider special cash dividends each quarter, in amounts to be deter, based on its financial position, earnings, and earnings outlook.

Shares of Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. slipped 20 cents to $76.28 in premarket trading.