initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Energy IPOs: C&J Energy, American Midstream

This week's busy IPO calendar has two energy names -- American Midstream Partners (AMID), which priced at the top of its range late Tuesday and is having a mostly flat debut; and C&J Services (CJES), which specializes in fracking, a controversial drilling method.

C&J is looking to raise roughly $305 million through the sale of 11.5 million shares at an estimated range of $25-$28 each. The driller concentrates its drilling in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, where there are few restrictions on this type of drilling as opposed to New York, which has outlawed the method.

Francis Gaskins, president of IPO Desktop, likes C&J but has a complaint that the company's been inconsistent at times about how much stock it's looking to sell, saying in its original S-1 filing in late March that it was selling 29 million shares at $14.40 each.
While the deal's terms appear to have changed, Gaskins says: "It makes you wonder what the insiders know that makes them want to sell."

Aside from that confusion, C&J looks good. The revenues have been increasing, gross margin is up and the company is making a profit. It does have some major competition in Halliburton (HAL)Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker Hughes (BHI), but it seems to have carved out a decent market share.

C&J operates four different fracturing fleets, as well as a fleet of 14 coiled tubing units and numerous pumps. Its focus on technically demanding drilling has set the company aside from its competitors and given it a niche.
Of American Midstream, which raised $75 million in its market debut, Gaskins says simply: "There are better limited partnership deals to choose from."

American Midstream was formed to acquire a portfolio of natural gas assets. The general partner is looking to use the money raised in the IPO to repay debt and pay itself a handsome fee. Insiders will receive $30 million of the proceeds. The business isn't doing all that well with the last profitable year dating back to 2008, which likely explains the yawns the stock is drawing on Wednesday.

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