Noble Corp. 3Q results down 15 percent

Offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp. said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income fell 15 percent because of delays for ships and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Brazil.

The Zug, Switzerland, company's net income totaled $114.8 million, or 45 cents per share, in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30. That compared with net income of $135.3 million, or 53 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue was $884 million, up from $737.9 million in the third quarter of 2011.

Analysts predicted earnings of 49 cents per share on revenue of $902.5 million, according to FactSet.

The company said utilization of two of its new ships was lower than expected as employees worked to resolve operational issues.

There also were labor problems in a shipyard in Brazil and regulatory support infrastructure that caused some delays for rigs. In addition rigs were kept out of service when Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf.

The delays caused an increase in quarterly operating costs. Average dayrates across the fleet were $168,600, a 7 percent decline from the second quarter.

"With few exceptions, these matters have now been resolved and we expect improved operational performance in the final quarter of 2012," David W. Williams, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Williams believes the fundamentals are solid in the industry, noting that Noble is securing contracts for both floating and jackup rigs.

Noble shares fell 10 cents to close at $37.69 and rose 20 cents in after-hours trading. In the past 52 weeks, the price has ranged from $28.73 to $41.71 per share.