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SONAT OFFSHORE DRILLING REPORTS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

 HOUSTON, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- William C. O'Malley, chairman and chief executive officer of Sonat Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: RIG), announced today that the company's consolidated net income for the three months ending Sept. 30, 1993, excluding the effect of a non-recurring tax adjustment, was $3.4 million, or $0.12 per share. Recently enacted tax legislation resulted in a non-recurring adjustment which increased the company's deferred tax liability by $1.7 million. This compares with a net income of $3.7 million for the three months ending Sept. 30, 1992. Net income for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 1992, benefited from the accelerated recognition of $5.1 million deferred income resulting from the early termination of a multiple-year contract for one of the company's rigs.
 Results for the quarter reflect the continued strength of the market in the Gulf of Mexico and the high utilization of the company's key rigs which are operating on term contracts at attractive rates with significant performance bonuses.
 Sonat Offshore Drilling is a worldwide offshore drilling company engaged in contract drilling for oil and gas wells. Headquartered in Houston, the company has set deep-water drilling records and is recognized as an industry leader in deep-water, harsh-environment, and turnkey drilling.
 CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS
 SONAT OFFSHORE DRILLING INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 (Unaudited)
 Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
 (In thousands, Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
 except per share data) 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Operating Revenues $51,943 $64,702 $183,646 $159,129
 Costs and Expenses:
 Operating and maintenance 36,132 44,549 142,581 115,384
 Depreciation 5,262 7,097 15,662 20,876
 Engineering and technical 604 443 1,633 1,436
 General and administrative 4,224 3,717 12,101 12,108
 Total Operating Expenses 46,222 55,806 171,977 149,804
 Operating Income 5,721 8,896 11,669 9,325
 Other Income (Expense), Net:
 Equity in earnings
 of joint ventures 54 337 4 1,154
 Interest income 492 219 2,050 677
 Interest expense:
 On indebtedness to affiliate --- (4,423) (7,753) (12,036)
 Other (62) (197) (706) (776)
 Interest adjustment related to
 settlement of tax case --- --- 24,030 ---
 Other, net (345) 375 (1,237) 758
 Total Other Income (Expense) 139 (3,689) 16,388 (10,223)
 Income (Loss) Before Income Taxes
 and Cumulative Effect of
 Accounting Change 5,860 5,207 28,057 (898)
 Income Taxes (Benefits) 4,240 1,517 12,430 (212)
 Income (Loss) Before Cumulative
 Effect of Accounting Change 1,620 3,690 15,627 (686)
 Cumulative Effect of Change in
 Method of Accounting for
 Postretirement Benefits 89 --- (5,800) ---
 Net Income (Loss) $1,709 $3,690 $9,827 ($686)
 Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:
 Earnings before cumulative effect
 of accounting change $0.06 $0.69
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting for
 postretirement benefits --- (0.26)
 Earnings Per Share $0.06 $0.43
 Weighted Average
 Shares Outstanding 28,294 22,642
 Net income for the three and nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, includes $1.7 million of deferred tax expense related to the adjustment of the Company's deferred tax balances as a result of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
 -0- 10/21/93
 /CONTACT: A. Laine Powell of Sonat Offshore Drilling, 713-871-7500/
 (RIG)


CO: Sonat Offshore Drilling Inc. ST: Texas IN: OIL SU: ERN

BN -- AT007 -- 5166 10/21/93 11:48 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1993
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