- Capital Drilling said Thursday profits rose by more than a fifth as revenue came in marginally above the top end of full-year guidance.

For the 12 months ended 30 December 2018, profit before tax rose 30% to $12.6m, and revenue fell 3% to £116m, but that was marginally above the top end of the 2018 guidance of $105 to $115m.

The company maintained full year average revenue per operating rig at $194,000, which it said was a 'significant' achievement given the lower utilisation in the first half.

Annual rig utilisation fell to 51% in 2018 from 53% a year earlier.

A final dividend of US1.5 cents was proposed, up 25% on last year.

'Capital Drilling enjoyed a year of significant progress with record net cash generated from our assets, a further strengthening of the balance sheet, as well as key strategic growth into West Africa. The quality of our business mix further improved with extensions to a number of our long-term drilling contracts, ARPOR remaining consistently robust, whilst utilisation saw a further improvement in the second half of the year, particularly with our exploration rig fleet,' said Jamie Boyton, Executive Chairman.

'All of these metrics were underpinned by an exceptional safety record with zero LTIs and a halving of our AIFR to an industry leading 0.45, which demonstrates the management's focus on our goal of a zero harm strategy.'

'The outlook for 2019 remains encouraging, albeit amidst mixed market drivers, specifically supportive commodity prices, in particular gold which represents circa 90% of Group revenue, offset by continued weak capital markets that impacted the funding for exploration activity.'

At 9:02am: [LON:CAPD] Capital Drilling Ltd share price was +4.75p at 54.75p

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