Chiles Offshore LLC, the 55-percent owned unit of offshore oil exploration company Seacor Smit Inc.
, has filed for an initial public offering of 8 million common shares in a range of $17-$19 each. Chiles owns and operates ultra-premium jack-up drilling rigs -- mobile offshore drilling platforms with legs that lower to the ocean floor to support the platform while drilling. Ultra-premium rigs differ from other drilling rigs because of their greater depth capabilities and more powerful mud pumps that speed up well drilling.
According to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Houston-based firm has applied for an American Stock Exchange listing. A ticker symbol will be disclosed later. The company predicted it will net about $135 million in proceeds from the share sale, which it plans to use to purchase or retire all of its currently outstanding senior notes.
Chiles, which operates three of the seven ultra-premium drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, also plans to use some of the money to fund a fleet expansion and for other general corporate purposes.
Credit Suisse First Boston and Salomon Smith Barney are the joint lead managers, with support from Prudential Securities and Wasserstein Perella Securities. They have an option to buy 1.2 million more shares if there is heavy investor demand.