Nabors' Largest Shareholder Says in Talks on Performance

Pamplona Capital Partners III LP, the largest shareholder in Nabors Industries Ltd., is holding talks with the world’s largest land-rig contractor after raising concerns about the company’s strategic plans and stock price.

Pamplona has become “increasingly concerned about the underperformance” of the stock compared to peers, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. Pamplona is also unhappy with “various aspects of its strategic plan and its declining market share.”

The fund and its U.K.-based Pamplona Capital Management LLP Chief Executive Officer Alexander Knaster hold a combined 9.3 percent stake in Nabors, according to the filing. Pamplona, which announced its stake in an August filing, is the largest investor in the Hamilton, Bermuda-based driller, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nabors has climbed 22 percent since Pamplona’s Aug. 2 filing. For the past month through yesterday, its performance ranks eighth of 15 companies in the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index.

The stock, which has 12 buy, 16 hold and one sell rating from analysts, rose 3 percent to $16.30 at the close in New York, the highest price since Sept. 14.

Dennis Smith, a spokesman for Nabors, didn’t imemdiately return a phone message seeking comment.

The company announced in March plans to sell as much as $800 million in “non-core” assets, including stakes in oil fields and logistics units, to focus on drilling and production services.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Petrello said in October the plan to sell assets was going slower than he’d hoped.

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