Banc of America is out with a good call saying they see incremental demand for deepwater rigs from exploration success driving additional backlog and ultimately multiple expansion from the higher visibility. Among the names, the firm reits Buy on Transocean (NYSE:RIG) with a $175 target.
Stronger-for-longer. Yes it's a sell-side cliche, but with the industry's inability to keep up with growth in crude oil demand (the tyranny of geology and politics), the lack of deepwater rigs (73% of floater days are already committed over the next 36 months), and upside from a forecasted increase in exploration activity (BAC estimates Tupi alone needs an incremental 25-50 deepwater rig years), they expect the 'high' return on capital period for the oil services, equipment and drilling companies to last for the foreseeable future. While the lack of rig availability may limit 2008 EPS upside, the increase in pent-up demand, most visibly in the deepwater rig market, implicitly provides backlog for service companies as well, and should make for a multiple expansion the story for 2008.
While forward cash flow and earnings multiples have compressed for the better part of the last four years, multiples appear to have bottomed. With the pent-up demand offering unprecedented visibility, they expect the 'high' return on capital period for the oil services, equipment and drilling companies to last for the foreseeable future, and drive multiple expansion in 2008. Interestingly, multiples for the group also expanded as the cycle matured back in the 1970s cycle.
Notablecalls: BAC's comments make sense. Companies with deepwater exposure may represent a safe haven for now and we will see multiple expansion there. The chart on RIG looks good, and I think BAC's call will generate some buy interest in the name.
Other Buy-rated names mentioned in the call: DO, CAM, FTI, SLB
I'm also hearing GSCO is upgrading several Oil Service names which should generate further interest in the space today.