CSO share in Cal Dive up for sale

Paris-headquartered Coflexip Stena Offshore SA (CSO) yesterday made known it would be taking offers for the whole of its 25.5% interest in Cal Dive International Inc (CDI), in order to capitalize on a share price that has multiplied nearly six-fold since CSO first invested in the US offshore construction company 3 years ago.

Sep 1st, 2000


Darius Snieckus
OGJ Online

LONDON�Paris-headquartered Coflexip Stena Offshore SA (CSO) yesterday made known it would be taking offers for the whole of its 23.5% interest in Cal Dive International Inc (CDI), in order to capitalize on a share price that has multiplied nearly six-fold since CSO first invested in the US offshore construction company 3 years ago.

Subsea oil service contractor CSO bought close 3.7 million shares�then equal to 32%�of Houston-based CDI common stock in April 1997, when the latter's share price stood at $9.46; shares in CDI today opened trading on NASDAQ at $57.50.

A spokesperson for CSO said the sale of its slice in CDI, which operates a fleet of technologically advanced offshore construction vessels in the US Gulf of Mexico, was prompted by "a financial consideration, not a strategic one," given CSO's continued focus on CDI's homepatch as a region core to its international business.

Though CSO has no "dedicated plans" for funds potentially raised through the share sale, the spokesperson said the company remained open to proposals from companies "with which it had strategic synergies and where we could be sure to have a good return on investment."

At the same time, the CSO spokesperson suggested that, should the CDI shares find a buyer, the contractor would be willing to sit down with companies interested in a merger "similar to that between Stolt Comex and ETPM" clinched earlier this year.

She said "provided [these potential partners] met with our criteria�companies with which [CSO] has strategic feeds and value feeds, and which we think will give our shareholders a good return on investment in the short-term"�CSO is "absolutely" prepared to enter into merger discussions.

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