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Tuscany International Drilling launches strategic review after stock sell-off

04/08/2013 09:39 EDT | Updated 06/08/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - Tuscany International Drilling Inc. (TSX:TID) shares rebounded Monday after the company said it's looking at strategic options in the wake of a major drop last week.

The stock closed up 4.5 cents at 13.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday after falling more than 20 per cent on Friday.

The oilfield services company didn't specify what options it would consider, but such strategic reviews usually consider a sale of some or all assets, merger agreements or major financing deals.

Meanwhile, Tuscany's board said it would be business as usual.

The company has hired two U.S. firms to advise its board: Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Black Spruce Merchant Capital Corp.

"The board has been focused on the recent decline in Tuscany's share price, which we do not believe reflects the long-term value of the company," Tuscany president and CEO Walter Dawson said in a statement.

"Therefore, we have taken proactive steps by appointing two well-regarded financial advisers in Citi and BSMC to work alongside us to develop ways to enhance shareholder value."

The Calgary-based company was one of the most active issues on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday, closing down 2.5 cents at nine cents, giving it a market value of less than $31.3 million.

A year ago, Tuscany's stock was worth about 70 cents per share and the stock peaked at about $1.90 in February 2011.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Michael Mazar said an asset sale is the most likely outcome for Tuscany as larger drillers, such as Precision Drilling Corp. (TSX:PD) or Ensign Energy Services Inc. (TSX:ESI), look to grow their international presence.

"They do have good rigs and they do have good assets," he said.

Tuscany, which serves customers in Africa and South America, has had a tough time operating internationally, Mazar said.

Much of the growth in the oilfield services industry is overseas, with North American activity expected to be mostly flat. But working internationally can be much riskier from a cost and regulatory perspective, Mazar said.

"Broadly speaking their biggest challenge has been profitability," said Mazar.

"They actually get decent rig utilization rates. They have a pretty good customer base. But there's something wrong with their cost structure and they just can't make any money."

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