Sunday, May 18, 2014

Civeo: a Spinoff and a REIT Conversion

Oil States International (OIS) is a oil services company that is spinning off its accommodation business, Civeo Corporation, later this month (it goes "when issued" Monday, and trades "regular way" on 6/2) after some nudging from activist investors last spring.  Civeo provides accommodation services for the resources industry in remote locations, think "man camps" that kind of look like portable prison complexes.  As apart of Oil States, Civeo is taxed as a C-Corp, but shortly after the spinoff Civeo's board intends to evaluate converting to a REIT structure, eliminating corporate level taxes, providing an immediate increase in the business's valuation.  This isn't a new idea, but despite JANA partners and Greenlight Capital being major shareholders, there's still a significant disconnect in the combined company's current valuation.

The company has laid out the typical reasons for the spinoff: management focus, optimize each unit's capital structure, cleaner for investors to value, acquisition currency, and aligning incentives.  Both businesses are attractive, it's not a classic spinoff where one of the businesses is orphaned and dumped in order to make the parent's results more appealing. However, the real value is the REIT conversion, REITs are valued more richly than C-Corps due to their tax advantaged status.  The pre-spin OIS trades for roughly 7x EBITDA, lodging/multi-family REITs trade in the 15-20x range, as long as the OIS stub remains priced at 7x EBITDA, a lot of value is going to be created through the spinoff and REIT conversion of Civeo. 

Civeo Corporation
Civeo is a pretty unique lodging company, they provide medium term (contracts are around 3 years) accommodations services to remote resource mining operations, a valuable service since infrastructure and labor supply is lacking in these far off locations.  Some of their lodges/villages can be quite large, for instance their Wapasu Creek Lodge has 5100 rooms, making it the second largest lodging property in North America behind the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Civeo Investor Presentation
Their operations are primarily located in the Canada oil sands region in Alberta, and around major metallurgical coal mines in Australia (as a result of the late 2010 acquisition of the MAC).  Being a US based company, this exposes Civeo to considerable currency risk, in particular Australia worries me being so closely tied to the Chinese economy.  Another unique feature of Civeo's business is the permanence of their real estate and how the market might value it?  They focus on providing accommodations to long lived resource assets, in the 30-50 year time frame, but their lodges (at least in Canada) are on leased land, and presumably depreciation expense is more real as a result.
Civeo Investor Presentation
Civeo sports a nice growth profile as seen above.  They "land bank" in growth areas like the west coast of British Columbia near potential LNG projects - their current lank bank pipeline could add another 15,000 rooms to their asset base over time.

One reason for the current discount might be due to a lack of pure comparables, do you value Civeo as a hotel REIT, multi-family/apartment REIT?  I blended the two below and threw in Extended Stay, which is not a REIT but is similar in that it tries to create a medium term apartment feel in a hotel.

Data via Bloomberg - Net Debt Includes Preferreds
As you can see, this peer group average is valued at approximately 17.5x EBITDA, I would place a little discount on Civeo as a result of its dependence on the cyclical resource industry as well as the more temporary nature (temporary in the 30 years sense) of its asset base.  Even putting a 15x EBITDA multiple on Civeo, backing out the $775 million in anticipated debt (and not accounting for any cash on hand) I come up with a $5.6 billion valuation, which is slightly more than the entire market cap of pre-spin OIS.  Even if you disagree with the comps, multiple, or discount the 2013 EBITDA for some anticipated slowdowns in Australia and corporate overhead, you're coming close to getting the remaining OIS for free.

Oil States International: Post-Spin
Post Spinoff, the Oil States stub will become a more focused energy services company with a TTM EBITDA of $435 million on $1.7 billion in revenue.  I haven't spent as much time on the remaining pieces of Oil States, but assuming it remains valued at a little over 7x EBITDA (which looks reasonable given peers trade for 9-10x EBITDA) the stub is worth roughly $3 billion.  Below is another list of comparables to give you an idea for where oil services companies are trading currently.

Data via Bloomberg
$5.6 billion for Civeo and $3 billion for Oil States gives you a pre-spin value of $160 per share.  I'm sure some of my numbers are a little optimistic, using EBITDA multiples obviously has its issues, and it will take some time for the REIT conversion to take place and for investors to fully value each component, but there's upside to be had here.

A few questions/risks that run through my mind:
  • Will traditional oil service company investors dump Civeo after the spin?   Seems unlikely given that's what the investor base has been pushing for, but any blip due to selling pressure would be temporary.
  • What about OIS, will that get dumped in favor of Civeo?  This appears more likely than Civeo being sold indiscriminately, however it's already cheap and would be a bite sized acquisition target for larger players in the industry.
  • Australia - Civeo is heavily exposed to the country's met coal market and thus the Chinese growth story which we've seen is slowing a bit and potentially in a massive housing bubble.
  • REIT conversion doesn't occur, it appears that the IRS is softening up its stance on these non-traditional REITs (like Iron Mountain), but with Civeo structures not being 100% permanent, I could see it being viewed with a skeptical eye.
My Strategy
Most value investors are aware of the spinoff strategy of buying the SpinCo after the initial wave of selling by unnatural holders or ones that don't want the orphan/bad business.  But in this instance, I think that Civeo could be the more appealing company for new investors to come in post-spin due to the planned value unlocking strategy to convert to a REIT.  So instead of waiting for the spin, I bought June expiration calls on OIS early last week, that way I have leveraged upside to the initial reaction to the spinoff which I expect to be positive, and the secondarily I plan to exercise the option, immediately sell OIS (unless it slumps) and hold CVEO until it converts to a REIT for that second leg up in valuation.

Disclosure: I own OIS calls



    A nice WSJ piece that highlights the Australian Coal risk, Civeo has a 1200 room lodge in Moranbah, Queensland.


    Civeo ended up choosing not to convert to a REIT, but to re-domicile in Canada for tax efficiency. I might write an update post, but my initially I think management is making the right move here. When I put the bull thesis together, I didn't fully appreciate the tax complexities of combining their international operations with a REIT structure. The tax savings would have been limited, really only coming from their ability to any repatriated cash without penalty. This one hurts a bit.

  3. see how it closed at the low today - my guess is day traders that were expecting a bounce, in the absence of a bounce, puked it at the end of the day (I think a number of them have to go home flat on their positions..what a way to make a living!). Management left guys hanging on the conf call with a lot of unanswered questions - not blaming them since they don't know the answers to future occupancy. This one will be interesting because the constantly fluctuating oil price adds a lot of value here if you see it as an option rather than equity.