Jan 23 Pamplona Capital Management, holder of
9.3 percent of Nabors Industries Ltd, has become
"increasingly concerned" about the underperformance of the
drilling rig contractor's shares, according to a regulatory
filing on Wednesday.
Nabors shares jumped as much as $1 per share, and closed 3
percent higher at $16.30 on the New York Stock Exchange. The
stock is still down 16 percent in the past year, whereas rival
Helmerich & Payne has gained 1 percent in the same time.
Pamplona, a fund backed by Russian billionaire Mikhail
Fridman's Alfa Group, said it had "valuable insights" to
contribute to the development of Nabors' business.
Alfa, which had $1.5 billion in the $6 billion London-based
hedge fund Pamplona as of last year, owns a stake in Russian oil
venture TNK-BP that is now being sold. Plus, an Alfa unit plans
to buy 28.6 percent of Regal Petroleum.
Pamplona was detailing its 8.8 percent Nabors stake, in
addition to another 0.5 percent of Nabors owned by Pamplona
founder Alex Knaster, because of a $120 million margin loan
facility arranged in October that is tied to its Nabors holding.
The fund and Knaster intend to continue talking to the
Nabors management, according to the filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nabors did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The company has been burned by its heavy exposure to the
once-booming hydraulic fracturing market, which has seen a
dramatic reversal in the past year as the glut of North American
natural gas forces drillers to sit on their hands.
Nabors Chief Executive Tony Petrello has spent his first
year in the top job trying to shape up the Bermuda-based
company, and has said he is aiming for $1 billion of asset sales
this year to meet a debt reduction target.
The Pamplona filing made a splash in the options market,
with website optionMonster reporting heavy trade in February
calls for Nabors shares with a $16 strike price.
Last June, Pamplona hit the headlines when it bought 5
percent of UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank.