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As Helix Energy Solutions (NYSE:HLX) slims down its operations to concentrate on its expanding offshore oil-well support business, analysts have started to assess the company’s potential as a takeover target.
Since beginning as oilfield diver in the 1960s, Helix has grown its business to include operations ranging from deepwater construction to oil-and-gas production to well maintenance and repair. But that is changing. The company agreed in December to put its oil-and-gas unit up for sale, and earlier last year it ended its pipe-laying business.
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“It’s a cleaned-up company,” Iberia Capital analyst Trey Stolz said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “Helix would be attractive as an add-on for existing offshore service providers to immediately get a head start on the well intervention side. It’s the next step forward in further specialization of the offshore equipment.”
Helix’s divestments have helped the $2.2 billion company reduce its debt and appear more attractive to investors. The cost-cutting measures contributed to a 31 percent gain in its shares in 2012, which beat the increases made by the 11-member Standard & Poor’s Midcap Energy Equipment & Services Index. Even with this gain, the company still trades at a 23 percent discount to its closest competitor, Oceaneering International (NYSE:OII). As of Thursday, Helix’s enterprise value was 6.64 times its estimated earnings for 2013…
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