Seventy Seven Energy Inc., the shale fracker spun off by Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK:US), rose 6.4 percent in its first day of trading as a stand-alone company.
The stock, trading under the ticker symbol SSE, climbed to $25.06 at the close in New York. That gives the Oklahoma City-based driller a market value of about $1.19 billion.
The spinoff represents one of Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler’s biggest moves to break up the integrated explorer and driller built by his predecessor, Aubrey McClendon, who was fired last year amid a shareholder revolt at the company he led for a quarter century. Lawler is seeking to generate more that $4 billion with asset sales this year.
Seventy Seven “should be able to leverage its newfound independence to broaden its customer base,” Mark Hanson, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago, said in a note to clients. “We see meaningful upside in SSE shares post-spinoff.”
Seventy Seven debuts amid stagnant prices for fracking services in the U.S. and a glut of pumping gear used to shoot water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to unleash oil and gas.
The company ranks 12th in the U.S., based on the size of its fracking-truck fleet, according to PacWest Consulting Partners LLC, in an industry dominated by Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB:US)
Prices for fracking services are expected to remain little changed this year in the U.S. and Canada and increase in some U.S. regions in early 2015, PacWest, a Houston-based consultant, said in a February report.
Chesapeake holders received one share of Seventy Seven for every 14 Chesapeake shares they owned. Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake didn’t retain a stake in the rig operator.
Seventy Seven, whose eight-member board includes a former Central Intelligence Agency executive director and Sunoco Inc.’s former refining chief, operates drilling rigs, hydraulic-fracturing equipment and wastewater trucks from the Rocky Mountains to Appalachia.
Chief Executive Officer Jerry Winchester formerly led Boots & Coots, the iconic well-control firm that helped douse hundreds of blazing oil wells in Kuwait after the first Iraq War. Boots & Coots was acquired by Halliburton Co. (HAL:US) in 2010.
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