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Noble Corp profit tops estimates with rig rate rise

(Reuters) - Noble Corp , an offshore drilling contractor now breaking itself up in an effort to boost its value, reported on Wednesday a larger-than-expected rise in quarterly profit as its rigs were kept busier and the rates paid for them improved.

Third-quarter net profit rose to $282 million, or $1.10 per share, from $115 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 22 percent to $1.08 billion. Excluding certain items, Noble made 85 cents per share, whereas analysts, on average, had expected 70 cents, Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S said.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco. Editing by Andre Grenon)