Polarcus Rises as Bank Agreement Eases Debt Concerns: Oslo Mover

Polarcus Ltd., a surveyor of underwater oil and gas fields, gained the most in two weeks in Oslo trading as an easing of conditions on the company’s debt alleviate investor concerns about a potential breach.

The Dubai-based company rose as much as 5.1 percent, the most since Sept. 13, and were up 3 percent at 4.066 kroner as of 1:05 p.m. in the Norwegian capital, making Polarcus today’s biggest mover on Oslo’s OBX index of 25 most-traded stocks. About 5.3 million shares have been traded so far, more than double the average daily volume during the last three months.

Polarcus agreed with lenders to amendments on covenants on an existing $410-million fleet bank facility, the surveyor said in a statement today. Polarcus will need to maintain a debt service ratio higher than 2.25 times in the first and second quarters of next year and more than 2.5 times from the third quarter, it said.

The agreement means Polarcus can now use as much as 20 percent of its fleet on multiclient activities, it said. Seismic companies earn money in the multiclient market, where a surveyor builds a data library that’s then sold to explorers, and through specific studies for customers, both of which can be pre-funded.

“While we have not expected the first quarter breach to be a material issue, it’s positive to see this sorted out,” Pareto Securities AS said in an e-mailed note today. “The company is now well above these thresholds on our estimates.”

Oil and gas companies working off Africa, Norway and South America have raised exploration spending to meet higher energy demand. With established fields maturing and new resources harder to find and develop, Polarcus has joined Petroleum Geo-Services ASA and TGS Nopec Geophysical, Norway’s largest seismic companies, in betting on growing demand for underwater maps.

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