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Patterson-UTI 2nd-qtr earnings fall 56 percent

HOUSTON (AP) -- Oil and natural gas driller Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. on Thursday posted a 56 percent drop in second-quarter profit. Lower use of its drilling rigs in the U.S. and Canada hurt results, which were also impacted by a big one-time gain in the year-ago period.

The results sent Patterson-UTI stock down 76 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $20.63 in afternoon trading.

The company reported net income of $40.8 million, or 28 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compared with net income of $92.5 million, or 60 cents per share, for the 2012 second quarter. Last year's second quarter included a $27.2 million pre-tax gain from the sale of some assets.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $659.3 million, from $681.1 million last year.

Analysts, on average, were expecting profit of 29 cents per share, on revenue of $640.6 million.

Contract drilling revenue fell 20 percent to $390 million, while revenue from its pressure pumping business rose 23 percent to $254.6 million. Revenue in its oil and natural gas production and exploration unit was basically flat at $14.7 million.

The company said its operating rig count averaged 183 in the United States and 2 in Canada during the April-to-June period, compared with 188 rigs in the United States and 11 in Canada during the first quarter of the year. The numbers reflect a seasonal slowdown in Canada, Patterson-UTI said.

CEO Andy Hendricks said in a statement that use of its Apex rigs, which command a higher rate, remained high during the quarter but lower utilization of conventional rigs and the seasonal decline in Canada affected the rig count. The company completed three new Apex rigs during the quarter, all of which are working under term contracts. Demand for new Apex rigs has increased, and all 13 the company has budgeted for this year are contracted.

Based on contracts currently in place, Patterson-UTI expects an average of 121 rigs operating under term contracts during the third quarter.

The company declared a quarterly dividend of 5 cents, to be paid on Sept. 30, to shareholders of record as of Sept. 16.

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. shares have traded between $14.48 and $25.48 in the past 52 weeks, and started the session up about 14 percent since the beginning of the year.