) to overweight from underweight.
Analyst James Crandell says the salesforce upgrade reflects the start of what he thinks will be a strong upturn in subsea orders and shipments over at least the next two to three years; also, the company's exposure to an upturn in domestic natural gas drilling.
Crandall expects the company to book some 50 subsea trees in the third quarter totaling about $250 million, largely from West Africa and Eastern Canada; further significant subsea orders appear likely in the fourth quarter, in 2003. Crandall sees an order backlog nearing $900 million by the end of 2002 vs. $637 million on June 30. He believes the company should also benefit from an upturn in domestic natural gas E&P spending that he expects in 2003 and 2004.