ABN AMRO Raises 2001 Earnings Estimates For Offshore Drillers

Friday, March 17, 2000
ABN AMRO raised its 2001 earnings estimates for several offshore drillers and said the oil service industry was in the early stages of a multiyear growth phase.

"We are raising our 2000 and 2001 upstream capital spending growth estimates,'' analyst Asit Sen said in a research note. "We note that our views are above the latest consensus expectations. To reflect higher-than-previously expected day rates/utilization rates, we are also raising our 2001 earnings estimates and price targets," he said. "We believe that the sector is in the early stages of a multiyear growth phase. Accordingly, we would use any periods of significant near-term weakness as buying opportunities," he added.

ABN-AMRO's favorites remain buy-rated Global Marine Inc., Noble Drilling Corp., and Santa Fe International Corp., as well as outperform-rated Transocean Sedco Forex Inc., Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., and Marine Drilling Cos. Inc., Sen said. ABN AMRO made the following adjustments:

- raised its 2001 earnings estimate on Diamond Offshore to $1.75 per share from $1.55, and raised its six- to 12-month price target to $40 a share from $36.

- raised Ensco International Inc.'s 2001 estimate to $1.35 per share from $1.30, and raised the price target to $33 per share from $30.

- raised Global Marine 2001 EPS estimate to $1.20 from $1.15 and took the price target to $29 from $26.

- raised Marine Drilling 2001 estimate to $1.15 from $1.10 a share, and raised the price target to $28 from $26.

- increased Noble Drilling's 2001 EPS estimate to $1.85 from $1.80, and the price target to $44 from $41.

- raised Transocean Sedco 2001 EPS view to $2.25 from $2.00, and took the price target to $49 from $44.

- raised Santa Fe International 2001 EPS estimate to $1.90 from $1.75, and the price target to $40 from $36.

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