Unit Corp. 4Q Profit More Than Doubles

Tuesday, February 22nd 2005, 1:49 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Unit Corp. on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled because of an increase in drilling rig rates and a higher number of utilized rigs, helping the company to beat analysts' estimates.

Unit shares rose $2.07, or 5.1 percent, to $42.97 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The oil and gas drilling company earned $29.9 million, or 65 cents per share, up from $11.8 million, or 27 cents per share, a year ago, driven by a 17 percent increase in average drilling rig rates to $9,529 per day using an average of 95 rigs, up from 69.8 rigs a year ago. Revenue rose 94 percent to $160.2 million from $82.6 million last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 59 cents per share on revenue of $145.7 million.

The company posted 2004 earnings of $90.3 million, or $1.97 per share, up from $50.2 million, or $1.15 per share, in the prior year. Revenue grew to $519.2 million from $301.4 million. Analysts forecast profit of $1.88 per share on revenue of $503.7 million.

Unit increased its acquisition, exploration and development drilling capital budget by 25 percent to $125 million for 2005, excluding acquisitions, and said it plans to drill 220 to 230 wells during the year.