Polarcus Rises as Nordea Advises Buying on Outlook: Oslo Mover

Polarcus Ltd. (PLCS) rose the most in more than five weeks in Oslo trading as Nordea Markets advised buying shares in the Dubai-based surveyor of underwater oil and gas fields because of its improved earnings outlook.

Shares in the seismic surveyor climbed as much as 3.3 percent, the most since March 5, and traded 2 percent higher at 6.27 kroner as of 11:50 a.m. local time. That extends the stock’s gain to 25 percent in the last 12 months and gives the company a market value of 3.2 billion kroner ($560 million).

Polarcus yesterday reported a first-quarter vessel utilization rate of 85 percent, beating the 80 percent figure that had been expected, Nordea analyst Jorgen Andreas Lande said in an e-mail today. “The investment case remains intact, the outlook is strong and with the recent weak share price performance, we upgrade to strong buy” from buy, he wrote.

Polarcus, which operates eight seismic vessels, is increasing its exposure to the so-called multiclient market, where a surveyor builds a data library which is then sold to explorers. The company used its vessels to collect multi-client data 13 percent of the time during the first quarter, up from 3 percent a year ago, it said.

Oil and gas producers operating in the waters off Africa, Norway and South America have increased spending on exploration to meet rising energy demand. With established fields maturing and new resources harder to find and develop, Polarcus has joined Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) and TGS Nopec Geophysical (TGS), Norway’s largest seismic companies, in betting on growing demand for the underwater maps they produce.

Polarcus, which is scheduled to announce first-quarter results on April 30, is expected to report net income of $17.7 million, according to the average of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with losses of $3.3 million in the fourth quarter and $11.4 million a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Reed in Oslo on at areed12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

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