* Singapore-listed oilfield services firm Ezra mulls U.S.
IPO for subsea unit
* Ezra appoints JP Morgan Chase to advise on possible
* Subsea unit accounted for 62 pct of revenue in financial
* Shares fall nearly 2 pct after announcement
(Adds comments, background, details on subsea unit)
SINGAPORE, Jan 17 Oilfield services firm Ezra
Holdings Ltd said on Friday it has appointed JP Morgan Chase &
Co to advise on strategic options for its subsea
services division, including a possible listing of the business
in the United States.
The subsea division contributed 62 percent of Ezra's revenue
in financial year 2013, which ended August 31. The unit reported
a 44 percent year-one-year rise in revenue in 2013, but made a
$23 million operating loss as it struggled with
higher-than-expected costs and delay in certain projects, Ezra's
financial reports showed.
"The fundamentals of the subsea industry are positive
resulting in strong prospects for our subsea business in areas
such as North America and Europe," Lionel Lee, group chief
executive officer and the company's top shareholder, said in a
Shares in Ezra jumped more than 40 percent over the past six
months amid talks of a possible sale or merger of the subsea
division. The company announced in early December that it was in
discussions about its subsea unit following a query from the
Ezra shares fell nearly 2 pct at S$1.26 by 0223 GMT.
"There is a lot of scepticism in the market," said Clement
Chen, a Barclays analyst.
"The only reason the share price performed the way it did in
the second half of last year was speculation on M&A. Now the
company says it is considering listing, some of the M&A premium
may be withering down."
Barclays has an underweight rating on Ezra, with a target
price set at S$0.90.
Subsea services providers install infrastructure on the
bottom of ocean for the increasingly complex offshore oil and
(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Rujun Shen; Editing by Miral