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Singapore's Ezra puts on hold U.S. IPO plan for subsea unit

January 15
1:13 AM 2015

Ezra Holdings Ltd (EZRA.SI), a Singapore-listed oilfield service company, said on Wednesday it has put on hold a plan to list its subsea services unit in the United States, prompted by unfavourable market conditions.

"Given where the markets are, we have effectively put that on hold," Eugene Cheng, group chief financial officer of Ezra, told Reuters.

Cheng said comparable companies were trading in the U.S. at three to four times EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), down from seven to eight times when Ezra was first considering the option. The price to EBITDA ratio reflects a stock's valuation, or how expensive a stock is.

A more than 50 percent decline in crude oil prices over the past half-year has prompted investors to sell shares of oil and gas companies. The FT ST Oil & Gas index .FTFSTAS0001, which tracks 17 Singapore-listed energy firms, has lost 29 percent in the past six months.

Ezra announced about a year ago that it had appointed JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) to advise on strategic options for its subsea services division, including a possible listing of the business in the United States.

Ezra said the subsea services division, which installs infrastructure on the bottom of ocean for oil and gas fields, contributed 70 percent of revenue in the company's 2014 financial year.

Ezra's share price fell 0.9 percent to S$0.525 ($0.393) on Wednesday versus a 0.4 percent decline in the benchmark index .FTSTI. The share price shed 60 percent in 2014.

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