UPDATE 1-Transocean adjusted profit rises on improved rig demand
Aug 7 (Reuters) - Transocean Ltd, owner of the world's largest offshore drilling fleet, on Wednesday reported an increase in adjusted quarterly profit as rates paid for its rigs rose along with demand for them, and the company kept costs contained.
Transocean, which has a new chairman after shareholders voted the previous one out, is pushing through a $300 million annual cost-cutting program this year and next to improve profitability.
The company's operating and maintenance costs fell below $1.4 billion in the second quarter from $1.6 billion last year, as it shrunk the size of its drilling fleet to 81 rigs over the past year through sales.
Average daily revenue for its fleet was nearly $383,000 in the quarter, up from $371,000 a year ago, reflecting a sector-wide rush to secure offshore drilling equipment. Last month, rivals Ensco and Noble Corp both posted higher-than-expected profits, driven by higher rates.
Transocean said second-quarter net income was $307 million, or 84 cents per share, compared with a loss of $304 million, or 86 cents per share, a year ago - when it took a $750 million charge related to its liability for the Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Excluding one-time items, Transocean earned $1.08 per share in the latest quarter, in line with the average of analysts' estimates on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and up from an adjusted profit of 72 cents per share a year before. Revenue in the quarter rose 3 percent to about $2.4 billion.
Switzerland-based Transocean will discuss the quarter in more detail on a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
In May, after a challenge by activist investor Carl Icahn, Transocean's chairman, Michael Talbert, stepped down after being voted out. He was replaced by long-serving board member Ian Strachan.