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Earnings Soar at Tidewater, World’s Largest Workboat Operator

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May 21, 2012

(Dow Jones) Tidewater Inc.’s (TDW) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings soared from a year-earlier quarter weighed down by heavy charges, while higher utilization and rates for the company’s vessels also propped up results.

Tidewater, which provides marine services to the oil and gas industry, had seen growing expenses–including high-priced fuel, as well as interest costs–pressure its bottom line. The company has been upgrading its fleet of vessels, which serves the international offshore energy industry.

For the quarter ended March 31, Tidewater’s profit rose to $33.6 million, or 66 cents a share, up from $12 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. The year-ago period included $6.3 million in charges from a settlement with the government of Nigeria, a $3.9 million impairment charge related to the value of vessels and parts expected to be sold to a scrap dealer, and a higher income tax rate.

Revenue jumped 14% to $289.4 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently projected earnings of 61 cents a share on revenue of $286 million.

Operating margin grew to 16.1% from 9.8%.

Vessel operating costs grew 9.9% to $289.4 million, while general and administrative costs fell 1.8% to $40.8 million.

Average day rates were up 16% from a year earlier, and worldwide fleet utilization rose to 65.4% from 62.8%.

Shares closed Friday at $45.39 and were mostly inactive premarket. The stock is down 7.9% so far this year.

-By Kristin Jones, Dow Jones Newswires

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