May 6 (Reuters) - Driller Rowan Cos Plc reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, helped by the deployment of three new ultra-deepwater rigs.
Rowan started operating one ultra-deepwater drillship each in April, October and February, the company said on Wednesday.
Rowan's shares rose about 3.5 percent in premarket trading.
The company's fleet utilization rate, a measure of the number of rigs deployed, rose slightly to 82 percent in the first quarter from 80 percent, a year earlier.
Global crude oil prices have fallen about 40 percent since June, forcing many rig providers to shut or retire old rigs.
Rowan said in April that it had reduced prices for five jack-up rigs contracted to Saudi Arabia's oil company Saudi Aramco.
Rowan's net income more than doubled to $123.7 million, or 99 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31.
Revenue rose 45 percent to $547 million.
Analysts on an average had expected earnings of 70 cents per share and revenue of $533.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Rowan's shares were trading at $23.15 before the bell.
Up to Tuesday's close, the stock had fallen 28 percent in the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones U.S. Oil and Gas index had fallen about 14 percent.
(Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Kirti Pandey)
Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
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