U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 42 mins

Noble says 1Q net rises 25 percent

The Associated Press

Noble Corp. said Wednesday that first-quarter net income rose almost 25 percent, as its drilling ships and rigs experienced fewer operational problems, especially in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company earned $150.1 million, or 59 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That was up from $120.2 million, or 47 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Revenue rose 21.7 percent to $971 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 51 cents per share.

Overall utilization of its fleet rose to 86 percent, from 74 percent a year ago. That included a jump in utilization of jackup rigs to 93 percent, from 79 percent a year ago.

"While our performance improved in the quarter, achieving further reductions in downtime and improving operational performance remain key objectives for the company," said Chairman, President, and CEO David Williams.

Shares of the Zug, Switzerland-based company fell $1.27, or 3.5 percent, to close at $34.95 amid a broad market sell-off.