Transocean Rises as BlackRock Boosts Stake in Offshore Driller

Transocean Ltd. rose the most in seven weeks after BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in the owner of the largest fleet of offshore drilling rigs.

Transocean climbed as much as 12 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Dec. 17. The shares were up 10 percent to $20.44 as of 4 p.m. in New York. BlackRock was the third-largest holder in Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean with 6.8 percent of the outstanding shares as of Jan. 16, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The vote of confidence by New York-based BlackRock comes less than a week after Fitch Ratings Ltd. lowered its outlook on Transocean to negative, citing “the possibility that a prolonged oil price drop will compound the effects of the offshore rig oversupply cycle resulting in weaker than previously expected market dayrates and an acceleration of the fleet rationalization process.”

A glut of new offshore rigs is competing for less work as producers reduce spending amid collapsing oil and natural gas prices. Energy producers are expected to cut spending on offshore drilling around the world by 20 percent this year, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Edwards told analysts and investors on a conference call.

“We believe that the current market downturn is yet another cycle playing out in offshore drilling and that the industry will eventually recover,” Jim Tisch, chief executive officer of Loews Corp., the majority holder of Diamond Offshore, said on a conference call with analysts Monday. “It’s just a matter of time.”

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