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Helmerich & Payne fiscal 1Q net income up 11 pct.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Oil and gas well-drilling contractor Helmerich & Payne Inc. said Thursday its fiscal first-quarter net income rose 11 percent, helped by higher drilling demand from energy companies.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based company earned $159.6 million, or $1.48 per share, up from $144.3 million, or $1.32 per share, in the same quarter the year before.

The recent quarter's results included a gain of 8 cents per share related to the sale of used drilling assets and investment securities. Excluding that, as well as 7 cents per share in earnings from discontinued operations, the company posted adjusted profit from continuing operations of $1.33 per share.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $844.6 million.

The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $1.29 per share on $825.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Helmerich & Payne said that revenue from its U.S. land operations increased by 13 percent to $696 million, as revenue days and average rig revenue per day both rose 4 percent.

The company also said Thursday that it reached deals with a pair of exploration and production companies to build and operate three additional rigs in the U.S. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Helmerich & Payne shares rose $1.24, or 2 percent, to $64.57 in afternoon trading.