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Nabors Industries Ltd. ( ) founded in 1968 as Anglo Energy, Ltd. (former AMEX symbol: AEL), and currently based in Hamilton, Bermudamarker, is an S&P 500 oil, natural gas and geothermal drilling contractor operating on land throughout the Americas, the Middle East, the Far East, and Africa. It also performs onshore well-servicing in North America, and provides rigs for offshore oil platform workover, and also for offshore drilling rig servicing. The company provides many support services for both offshore and onshore oil drilling and for well-servicing operations. The company has a charter fleet of 29 marine vessels for offshore operations. It also makes top drilling drives, directional drilling systems, equipment for rig instrumentation and for data collection, equipment for pipeline handling, and software for rig reporting. As of 2006, the company owned 610 land workover and well-servicing rigs in the United States, and 190 rigs in Canada, as well as 48 oil platform rigs, 19 jackup barge rigs, and 5 barge rigs.

Its current Chief Executive Officer, Eugene M. Isenberg, graduated in 1950 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the school's Isenberg School of Management is named in his honor.

History

Anglo Energy

Anglo Energy, Ltd. was founded in 1968, and publicly-traded on the American Stock Exchangemarker with Class A shares under the ticker symbol AEL.A

Through the long secular bear market and economic malaise of the 1970s, the company performed well, leading up to the early 1980s recession, when troubles began to surface. In 1981, earnings came in at US$36 million, excluding an extraordinary charge of US$2 million.

However, coming out of the recession by 1982, the company suffered a loss of US$4 million, excluding extraordinary income of US$4.6 million.

By 1983, the company was in serious trouble. The loss that year had grown to US$53 million, excluding an extradordinary charge of an additional US$50 million. That year Anglo Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. At that time the company had assets of US$694 million, with sales revenue of US$310 million, and 860 employees. The stock was halted for trading by the AMEX on November 7, 1983, although it continued to trade on the NASDAQ OTC exchange, as it was then known. From its 1970s high, the stock price had fallen by 97% by the end of the year, to a new all-time low.

In 1984, with the company in bankruptcy, the loss was less severe than it had been the prior year, at only US$25 million, excluding extraordinary income of US$6 million. However, the stock price set a new all-time low again that year, and began trading as a penny stock (under $1), down another 23% from its 1983 low.

In 1985, the loss deepened yet again, to nearly US$29 million. By then the company carried long-term debt of US$154 million. The stock once again fell to its 1984 low, but then recovered up almost threefold from that low during the year. However by the end of the year, it had dropped yet again by half from that mid-year high, though it still traded 40% above its all time low set in the prior two years.

In 1986, Anglo Energy emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and refiled. Despite the reorganization relief that year, which decreased the company's long-term debt to only US$32 million, the company's loss deepened yet again in 1986, to its largest since 1983, at US$30 million. The penny stock price fell that year by another 50% from its previous 1984-1985 all-time low, to set what would become its final all-time low in 1986. Also that year, the company issued warrants traded on the AMEX, through 1989.

In 1987, Anglo Energy exited its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and changed its name to Anglo Energy Inc. It continued to trade on the AMEX under the ticker symbol AEL. By mid-year the stock price rose tenfold from its prior year all-time low, but then fell victim to the 1987 stock market crash. By the end of the year, the stock price dropped from its earlier high that year, by almost 90% again, nearly to the level of its 1986 all-time penny stock low, as the company's 1987 loss amounted to a record US$94 million.

Nabors Industries

Anglo Energy subsequently changed its name to Nabors Industries Ltd., which also traded on the AMEX, under the new symbol NBR, until its move to the New York Stock Exchangemarker by the early 2000s.

Eugene M. Isenberg became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Nabors in the 1987 reorganization. From 1969 to 1982, he had been Chairman and the principal shareholder of Genimar, Inc., a steel trading and building products manufacturing company, until its sale in 1982.

By the early 1990s, Nabors Industries survived its post-bankruptcy financing troubles by diluting shareholder value, with the issuance of an eightfold increase in the number of common shares outstanding. But consequently the company kept its debt under control, at under US$60 million through the mid 1990s.

The company performed well through the 1990-1991 recession, with earnings of US$23 million and US$37 million, respectively. On October 1, 1991, Anthony G. Petrello was hired and became Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nabors Industries. Since 1986 he had previously been Managing Partner of the New York Office of the law firm Baker & McKenzie, until his resignation from that firm in 1991.

In 1992, the earnings growth trend continued for Nabors, at US$44 million. By the end of 1992 the penny stock had risen tenfold again from its 1987 low, and the revived company had been added to the S&P MidCap 400 Index. But by 1993, the earnings trend began to turn down again, at only US$42 million.

In 1994, the economy slowed through the soft landing, and Nabors Industries earnings also declined, to only a marginal profit of less than a million dollars. The stock price floundered as well that year, down 30% from its earlier 1993 high.

In 1995, earnings fully recovered, to almost US$49 million. The company continued to issue shares at a steady pace, but the stock price doubled that year. By early 1996, the stock price rose another 50%, although at that time it was still trading at less than half the 1970s all-time high price of its predecessor. However, the positive trends in the company and in the overall stock market continued through the second half of the decade.

During the late 1990s, Nabors Industries continued to grow, and was added to the S&P 500 Index of the largest publicly-traded companies in the United States. The stock moved from the AMEX to the NYSE.

On July 20, 2007 Nabors Industries sold its Sea Mar Fleet for US$189 million in cash to Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. ( ), including 20 offshore supply vessels (OSVs). The deal closed in early August 2007.

Controversy involving Charles Rangel

In a November 25, 2008 New York Times article by David Kocieniewski, entitled "The Congressman, the Donor and the Tax Break", Mr. Kocieniewski sets forth the following synopsis on Nabors Industries' preferential tax loophole.

After the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2002, Nabors Industries was among a handful of U.S. corporations that relocated its offices offshore to avoid paying millions in U.S. corporate taxes. When it learned about this, Congress rushed to introduce bills that would prevent companies from sidestepping their U.S. tax obligations. Hon. Charles Rangel (D-NY) blasted the Bush Administration for failing to move more forcefully against these companies. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) warned "you proceed at your own peril." Nabors and the other companies persuaded a group of House Republicans that any crackdown on companies moving offshore should apply only to those that did so after 2003. In 2004, the Republican-led House attached language to a budget bill establishing the loophole for these companies and preserving their tax bonanza. Lobbyists for the companies argued that depriving Nabors and the other companies would amount to a retroactive tax increase.

In 2004, Mr. Rangel and the City College of New York (C.C.N.Y.) began discussing establishing The Rangel Center library as part of a new school for public service. At a cost of $30 million, the school would allow the college to offer students a master's degree in public administration and allow Mr. Rangel to maintain an office to preserve his legacy in a dignified academic setting. In 2005 and 2006, Rangel wrote letters on Congressional letterhead asking over 100 foundations to meet with school officials to discuss the project. Pledges and donations were disappointing, raising only $1.6 million.

In September 2006, Rangel spoke with longtime friend Robert M. Morgenthau who hosted a meeting at his office with Mr. Rangel, Mr. Isenberg (Nabors CEO), Dr. Williams from C.C.N.Y. and the school's top fundraising officials. A few weeks later, Mr. Nabors was asked for a contribution and by year's end, Mr. Isenberg had promised the project its largest donation of $1 million. Democrats swept into Congress in January 2007 after promising to end government giveaways to big business. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced one of her top priorities was to eliminate loopholes used by corporations to avoid taxes. The Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee put together a bill to increase the minimum wage and provide tax cuts for small businesses; it proposed paying for the plan by ending $8.3 billion in tax loopholes, including the one carved out for Nabors, one of the world's largest oil-drilling companies, and the three other companies. When the bill arrived in the House of Representatives, it received a chilly reception from Rangel, who by then was the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. A week later, Mr. Rangel, who believed the measure a retroactive tax increase, released a counterproposal that left the tax shelter intact.

On February 12, the day the bill was being marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Rangel held two discussions over breakfast at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan with Mr. Isenberg and Mr. Morgenthau to discuss Isenberg's support for the Rangel Center. After breakfast, Mr. Isenberg escorted Mr. Rangel across the room to meet with his lobbyist, Mr. Kies. Over sweet rolls and coffee, Mr. Kies asked Mr. Rangel if he would maintain his opposition to efforts to take away Nabors' tax loophole. Mr. Rangel said he would.

Ethics Committee investigation

The House Ethics Committee voted on December 9, 2008 to expand its investigation into Representative Charles B. Rangel to examine his role in preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company who chief executive Eugene Isenberg pledged $1 million to a City College of New York project that will bear the congressman's name.

At the annual shareholders meeting in Houston, Texasmarker on June 2, 2009, Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group and a shareholder, questioned Isenberg about his $1 million pledge to The Rangel Center. Isenberg denied any quid pro quo. Isenberg was clearly annoyed at Flaherty's line of inquiry. Isenberg admitted he has paid $400,000 of the pledge and insisted he would pay the rest. Isenberg called the New York Times article "full of malarkey", and challenged the Times' account of a meeting that he had with Rangel on the same day that the Ways and Means Committee was marking up legislation affecting the loophole. Susan Crabtree, The Hill, writes that Flaherty caught the whole exchange between himself and Isenberg on tape.

"Golden coffin" controversy

Also at the Nabors Annual Shareholders June 2, 2009 meeting, a stockholder proposal calling for investor approval of executive death benefits at Nabors Industries was voted down. Amalgamated Bank's LongView Funds owns 80,194 shares in Nabors sponsored the proposal. Amalgamated proposed that Nabors get shareholder approval for agreements that award unearned salary, bonuses and other compensation to executives' estates if they die. These arrangements are called "Golden coffins." Nabors had urged its shareholders to vote against the proposal. In April, Nabors renegotiated new death benefit packages for CEO Eugene Isenberg and COO Anthony Petrello, lowering the total collective payments by more than $200 million.

References

  1. Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR:NYSE), Company Description, Business Week
  2. Standard & Poor's Stock Guide, various issues
  3. Nabors Industries Ltd., SEC SCHEDULE 14A, Notice of 2007 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, May 4, 2007
  4. Anglo Energy, Limited. (1983), UCLA Bankruptcy Research Database, by Lynn M. LoPucki
  5. See Kocieniewski, David, "The Congressman, the Donor and the Tax Break", The New York Times, November 25, 2008, accessed June 8, 2009
  6. Kocieniewski, David. "House Ethics Panel Expands Rangel Inquiry", The New York Times, December 10, 2008, accessed June 8, 2009
  7. See Flaherty, Peter, "Nabors Chairman Gets Testy With Flaherty About Rangel Center Donation; Calls NY Times 'Full of Malarkey'", 6/5/09, accessed 6/8/09
  8. Crabtree, Susan. "Ethics Panel Probes Alleged Rangel Quid Pro Quo", The Hill, June 11, 2009, accessed June 12, 2009
  9. Andrejczak, Matt, "Nabors Shareholders Defeat 'Golden Coffin' Proposal"'. MarketWatch, 6/2/09, accessed 6/9/09


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