Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mermaid Maritime: IPO Summary and Valuation

Business Overview

Mermaid Maritime (MM) is a leading provider of drilling and sub-sea engineering services for the oil and gas industry in South East Asia. Over the last five years, MM has grown significantly in the areas of sub-sea engineering, and, more recently, drilling services for the offshore oil and gas industry as well as in training and technical services. MM has established ourselves as a company recognized by the industry for high quality services, delivered safely and efficiently. MM has developed a strong blue chip client base that includes some of the world’s largest oil and gas-related companies. Clients such as Chevron, CUEL and PTT Exploration and Production PCL each accounted for 5.0% or more of MM’s sales in any one of the periods under review. Some of MM’s other clients include BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Saipem, Transocean, Petronas and Amerada Hess. MM operates throughout South East Asia, primarily in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
MM provides drilling services through its majority-owned (95.0%) subsidiary, Mermaid Drilling Ltd. (“MDL”), which currently has two tender rigs. MM provides sub-sea engineering services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mermaid Offshore Services Ltd. (“MOS”). MOS provides sub-sea inspection, repair and maintenance services, light construction services and emergency repair and call out services in South East Asia. MOS’ fleet consists of four vessels which it owns, in addition to one DP construction vessel and one ROV/air dive support vessel, both of which it charters. The flagship vessel in its fleet is the DP DSV Mermaid Commander, which has an in-built saturation diving system and rough weather capabilities. In addition, MOS owns one portable saturation diving system, seven air diving systems and seven ROVs.

MM has built and now operate a world class facility at our operational base in Chonburi, Thailand. This facility allows MM to control its own maintenance and refurbishment requirements of equipment and, more importantly, the facility’s geographical location allows us to mobilize expeditiously and efficiently to MM clients’ locations. MM has also established shore base support functions in (i) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; (ii) Songkhla, Thailand; and (iii) Jakarta, Indonesia to support our geographical expansion. To support MM’s mobile operations, these shore base support functions can be moved at short notice.

Major Risk – Tiny Fleet

MM only has two tender rigs, and downtime of one or both of these rigs could adversely affect MM’s results of operations. For example, MTR-2 is experiencing a period of downtime that commenced in July 2007 as a result of an agreement with Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd (“Chevron Thailand”) to meet certain technical specifications upon the transfer of MTR-2 from its previous client. To meet these specifications, MM relocated MTR-2 to inland facilities in July 2007. In addition to completing these specifications, MM also decided to commence the dry-docking and SPS for MTR-2. MTR-2 is expected to resume operations in November 2007. Further, MM’s tender rigs may experience downtime for other reasons, such as the crane boom incident on MTR-1 in September 2006 and the fire on MTR-1 in June 2007


The market segments and region in which MM operates are highly competitive. Pricing is often the primary factor in determining which contractor is awarded a contract. Some of MM’s competitors are larger than it is, have more diverse fleets or fleets with generally higher specifications, have greater resources, have greater brand recognition and greater geographic reach and/or lower capital costs than MM has. This allows them to withstand industry downturns better, compete on the basis of price or relocate, build and/or acquire additional assets, all of which may affect MM’s sales or profitability. If other companies in MM’s industry relocate or acquire vessels for operations in South East Asia, levels of competition in South East Asia may increase and MM’s business could be adversely affected. Local oil and gas services competitors in each country MM operates in may have more domestic experience and better relationships with clients.


MM’s business is dependent upon the conditions of the oil and gas industry, in particular the level of activity in oil and gas exploration, development and production and sub-sea inspection and maintenance programs in South East Asia where we are active. The level of capital expenditures for oil and gas exploration, development and production largely depends on prevailing oil and gas prices and our clients’ expectations of prices in the future, each of which is influenced by a variety of factors, including the actual and anticipated production, supply and demand for oil and gas, and worldwide economic conditions. Oil and gas prices are volatile, which have historically led to significant fluctuations in expenditures by clients for oil and gas drilling and related services. A sustained period of low drilling and production activity or the return of lower oil and gas prices could impact the level of oil and gas exploration, development and production, as well as result in the cancellation of current and planned projects and impact MM's business and results of operations.

The niche market in which MM operates is less sensitive to slowdowns in the industry as compared to oil and gas exploration activities. Even in the event of a slowdown in oil and gas exploration activities, MM clients’ planned projects may not be curtailed. Further, our sub-sea engineering services also perform inspection and maintenance services. MM anticipates that there would be a continued demand for such services even during periods of low drilling and production activity as many of MM’s clients would have to continue to meet their committed production levels under their supply contracts as well as comply with subsea infrastructure inspections requirements.

Accordingly, demand for services is subject to fluctuations that generally affect the oil and gas industry, with periods of high demand, short supply and high rates often followed by periods of low demand, excess supply and low rates. Further, the entry into the market of newly constructed, upgraded or reactivated tender rigs or vessels would increase market supply and may curtail the strengthening of rates or reduce them. Periods of low demand intensify the competition in the industry and often result in assets being idle for periods of time or being utilized at low rates. In addition, in depressed market conditions, a client may no longer need a tender rig or vessel that is currently under long-term contract or may be able to obtain a comparable service at a lower rate. Clients may then seek to renegotiate the terms of their contracts or avoid their obligations under those contracts.


The following information is extracted from the very detailed information provided in the prospectus, with the exception of FY2007E. Assuming the IPO priced at its maximum of $1.56:

(click for full image)

The projection and IPO pricing gives a pre-IPO trailing P/E pf 45.01 and P/B of 9.06. The extrapolation of HY07 results to FY07 gives the IPO a pricing a forward P/E of 18.52 and P/B of 8.18.

It should be noted that the 2H07 projection seems quite aggressive. This gives an ROE of about 44% and ROA of about 24%. I am not sure that this is sustainable in the long run. Even with this aggressive projection, the IPO pricing is not cheap at 18.5x forward earnings. The company's investment bankers seem to be extremely confident that Mermaid will continue to grow rapidly in the future.

To be sure, Mermaid is still a small company and has plenty of room for growth. The IPO valuation may come to look conservative in the future. However, significant risks abound for a company with only two drilling rigs.

This looks like a high risk/high reward IPO.

1 comment:

Shingo T said...

Thks for the effort.

Your analysis of the IPOs sure have saved me (and many people) time. ^_^