is the modern name of Noble Drilling Corporation
, by which it was known through the 1990s. The company was part of the S&P 500
The S&P 500 is a free-float capitalization-weighted index published since 1957 of the prices of 500 large-cap common stocks actively traded in the United States. The stocks included in the S&P 500 are those of large publicly held companies that trade on either of the two largest American stock...
stock market index until 3/26/2009, when the headquarters were transferred to Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....
. Noble Corporation is a major contract driller of oil and natural gas wells.
In 1985, its parent company, Noble Affiliates, Inc. (now known as Noble Energy
Noble Energy, Inc. of Houston, Texas, United States is the modern name of Noble Affiliates Inc., by which it was known through the 1990s, and it is now an oil and natural gas exploration and production company with almost US$3 billion in revenue at #660 on the 2007 Fortune 1000 list of the largest...
), spun off its subsidiary Noble Drilling Corporation to shareholders and began publicly trading on the NASDAQ, later being renamed Noble Corporation.
In 1932 the parent company Noble Affiliates, Inc. began as Samedan Oil Corporation
in southern Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...
, an explorer of crude oil and natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...
founded by Lloyd Noble, in Ardmore, Oklahoma
Ardmore is a business, cultural and tourism city in and the county seat of Carter County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 24,283, while a 2007 estimate has the Ardmore micropolitan statistical area totaling 56,694 residents...
Founded in 1932, by the 1970s, the parent holding company Noble Affiliates Inc.
, owned three subsidiary business lines, its 1932 original oil and gas explorer Samedan Oil Corporation
, the drilling company Noble Drilling Corporation
, and a trucking company B. F. Walker
In 1972, Noble Affiliates first became publicly-traded.
Throughout the long bear market of the 1970s, Noble Affiliates did extremely well, as its stock price multiplied by over 29 times from its low, and split two-for-one in 1981. It had begun paying a cash dividend
Dividends are payments made by a corporation to its shareholder members. It is the portion of corporate profits paid out to stockholders. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, that money can be put to two uses: it can either be re-invested in the business , or it can be distributed to...
to shareholders in 1975, which it has continued for every year since. It earned nearly US$82 million in 1981, although it carried a long-term debt of nearly US$100 million by then. But as the early 1980s progressed, the stock settled back down to half of its earlier record peak price, as earnings steadily declined each year, until by 1985 the company was operating at a loss.
In cost-saving measures, in 1984, Noble Affiliates sold the B. F. Walker trucking company, and in 1985 it spun off Noble Drilling Corporation to shareholders.
By the early 1990s, Noble Drilling Corporation began trading on the NASDAQ
The NASDAQ Stock Market, also known as the NASDAQ, is an American stock exchange. "NASDAQ" originally stood for "National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations". It is the second-largest stock exchange by market capitalization in the world, after the New York Stock Exchange. As of...
exchange, under the symbol NDCO. Its first years of growth were strong as its stock grew in price sevenfold by 1993.
Through the 1990-1991 recession and in 1992, Noble Drilling operated at a loss of about US$40 million each year, finally becoming profitable with peak earnings of US$25 million plus extraordinary income in 1993, leading to the runup in its stock. But in the 1994 soft landing the stock price plunged to less than half of its prior peak price, as earnings began to slide by two-thirds of what they had been the prior year, and the stock languished through 1995. Noble Drilling had accumulated nearly US$130 million in long-term debt by that year. By 1995 the company had become a member of the S&P SmallCap 600 index.
By early 1996, Noble Drilling Corporation moved from the NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...
, and began trading under the new symbol NE. Investor enthusiasm over the move drove its stock price above its 1993 high, rising almost 50% in the month of March 1996. The runup in the stock was not matched by company fundamentals however, as the company had a marginal loss in 1995, its long-term debt had increased by a few million dollars, and the company diluted shareholder equity when it issued almost 20% more common shares outstanding that year.
By the early 2000s, Noble Drilling changed its name to Noble Corporation as a result of its change in domicile from the United States to the Cayman Islands.
On December 19, 2008, Noble, incorporated in the Cayman Islands and operated from Sugar Land, Texas
Sugar Land is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area and Fort Bend County. Sugar Land is one of the most affluent and fastest-growing cities in Texas, having grown more than 158 percent in the last decade. In the time period of 2000–2007, Sugar Land also enjoyed a...
, announced plans to reincorporate in Switzerland.
In March 2009, Noble Corporation redomesticated to Switzerland. At that time it was removed from the S&P500 Index.
In June 2010, Noble Corporation entered into a definitive agreement to buy Frontier Drilling for US$2.16 billion.
Noble completed the purchase of Frontier in late July 2010. As a result, Noble's fleet grew by seven units to a total of 69 offshore drilling units (including five drilling rigs currently under construction), which are located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates the dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel, FPSO Seillean.