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Seadrill Q1 Profit Plunges, But Hikes Dividend - Update

Bermuda-based offshore drilling contractor Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL) reported Monday a sharp decline in first-quarter profit, reflecting lower revenues and a one-time gain in the prior year. The company also increased its quarterly dividend and announced a one-off dividend.

Further, Seadrill said it expects good growth in operational cashflow for the second quarter and for the rest of the year. The company anticipates second-quarter earnings to be favorably impacted by ultradeepwater semi-submersible rigs West Leo and West Capricorn, commencing operations in April and June, respectively.

The board has decided to increase regular quarterly dividend by $0.02 to $0.82 per share. In addition, Seadrill will pay a one-off dividend of $0.15 per share related to an equal cash distribution from its investment in SapuraCrest. The total dividend of $0.97, to share holders of record on May 24, 2012, is payable on June 7.

In the first quarter, net income attributable to the parent plunged to $416 million or $0.87 per share from $879 million or $1.83 per share in the previous year.

On average, 11 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of $0.71 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

In the prior-year quarter, the company recorded a gain on loss of control in subsidiary totaling $540 million.

Total operating revenues for the quarter declined to $1.05 billion from $1.11 billion in the same quarter last year, but were slightly above analysts estimate of $1.03 billion.

The company said in 2012, it has entered into new contracts with a revenue potential of $1.9 billion, bringing the total order backlog to $13.8 billion.

SDRL is currently trading at $35.72, down $0.90 or 2.46 percent, on a volume of 508 thousand shares on the NYSE.

by RTT Staff Writer

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