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Major Drilling boosts dividend, reports record profit

Major Drilling, which has operations around the world, said its biggest challenge is increasing its labour force to keep up with demand.

Major Drilling/Major Drilling

Major Drilling Group International Inc. boosted its dividend by 12.5 per cent on Monday after reporting record third-quarter profit.

The Moncton-based mining drilling company said its profit jumped to $9.6-million, or 12 cents a share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $1.7-million, or 2 cents, during the same quarter last year.

Revenue totalled $182.2-million, up from $107.7-million in the year-earlier quarter, as sales in all the company's regions grew, partly owing to an acquisition.

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The company also increased its semi-annual payout to 9 cents a share, payable May 2.

"Demand for drilling services continues to increase and customers remain anxious to secure rigs and crews," said Francis McGuire, president and chief executive officer of Major Drilling.

Mr. McGuire added that profit grew despite heavy ramp-up costs and delays caused by mild weather.

The company expects strong demand from gold and copper producers, as well as from coal and iron ore miners.

"Intermediate and junior mining companies with advanced projects have ramped up their already busy drilling programs by adding rigs, and most senior mining companies have increased their exploration budgets for 2012," Mr. McGuire said.

The company said its biggest challenge is increasing its labour force to keep up with demand and shrinking the productivity gap of new drillers as they gain experience.

Major Drilling Group is a contract drilling service company with operations around the world.

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