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Morgan Stanley Slashes Deepwater Drillers, Says They're 'Fighting Tooth And Nail' To Stay Afloat

Morgan Stanley Slashes Deepwater Drillers, Says They're 'Fighting Tooth And Nail' To Stay Afloat

Deepwater drillers are "fighting tooth and nail" to stay afloat while customer civility deteriorates, an analyst said Wednesday.

Morgan Stanley's Ole Slorer cut his rating to Underweight on Transocean LTD (NYSE: RIG), ENSCO PLC (NYSE: ESV) and Noble Corp plc (NYSE: NE).

Slorer suspended coverage on North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NYSE: NADL), saying its ability to remain in operation is in some doubt, despite continued support from parent company Seadrill Ltd (NYSE: SDRL).

Contract terminations and renegotiations are happening across the industry, according to Slorer, who said "there are no sacred cows in this market."

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Larger exploration and production clients of offshore drillers have generally abided by termination clauses, while smaller customers "have been more abrupt and less reasonable," Slorer said.

Transocean, which earlier Wednesday named Jeremy D. Thigpen chief executive, faces balance sheet uncertainty and a risk to earnings stemming from its older-than average fleet of drilling platforms, according to Slorer.

Activist Carl Icahn has been seeking a restructuring at Transocean.

While Ensco and Noble each have "relatively strong balance sheets," Slorer said both have "older fleet profiles" that may make them vulnerable.

Image credit: Public Domain

Latest Ratings for RIG

Jun 2019DowngradesBuyNeutral
Jun 2019ReinstatesNeutral
Mar 2019Initiates Coverage OnBuy

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