Fitch Rates Tuscany's Proposed USD200MM Issuance at 'B+/RR4'

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina--()--Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'B+/RR4' to Tuscany International Drilling Inc.'s (Tuscany) proposed USD200 million, seven-year senior unsecured notes, issuance. The 'RR4' Recovery Rating on the issuance reflects an average expected recovery in the event of default. Tuscany's foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) are both 'B+',with a Stable Outlook.

The notes will be guaranteed by Tuscany's subsidiaries: Tuscany South America Ltd., Tuscany Perfuracoes Brasil Ltda., Tuscany Perfuracoes Nordeste Ltda.,Tuscany Riga Leasing S.A. and Caroil SAS. Fitch expects the company to use the proceeds from the issuance primarily to refinance existing revolver debt balances, and for general corporate purposes.

Tuscany's ratings reflect the company's moderate leverage, experienced management team, and a technologically advanced asset fleet, which is either new or has recently been refurbished, and gives the company a competitive advantage. The ratings also incorporate a degree of counterparty credit risk in its diversified customer base, a relatively small rig fleet, and exposure to the cyclical and competitive onshore drilling industry. Tuscany faces the operational challenge of consolidating its business following a period of historically aggressive growth.

Moderate Leverage

Leverage is low for the rating category, reflected in a consolidated total debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.3x reported as of the last 12 months (LTM) ended September 2012. Fitch expects the company's leverage to decline below such levels over the medium term. Interest coverage is adequate at 3.1x as of LTM September 2012 and is expected to be around 3.5x by 2013.

The company could choose to use its accumulated cash to expand its rig fleet, while maintaining the same leverage and break-even to positive free cash flow. As of September 2012, Tuscany's consolidated nominal debt was approximately USD219 million, of which approximately USD200 million corresponded to a term loan used to finance acquisitions during 2011, and the balance was debt drawn down from an existing revolving credit facility. Pro forma debt is expected to be around USD245 million in 2012 (consisting of USD200 million in bonds and USD 45million drawn from a new US$75 million revolver facility), with possible paydowns of a drawn revolver.

Smaller Fleet Size and Customer Base

The company's rig fleet is relatively small with 41 onshore drilling rigs, which limits operational diversification as well as the ability to serve larger, financially stronger oil companies and their demand for rigs. Tuscany's small fleet size exposes the company to weather or operational issues surrounding a particular rig, specifically those that are more technologically advanced and receive higher day rates. Tuscany has exposure to customers that tend to have a lower credit quality, which adds to counterparty risk. The majority of Tuscany's revenues during 2011 were generated from small- to medium-sized independent oil and gas companies, which in general are more sensitive to oil price volatility when compared with larger, integrated oil and gas companies.

Cyclical and Competitive Industry

Tuscany's cash flow generation ability is exposed to oil price volatility, as a substantial decrease in oil prices could reduce the exploration activity of its counterparties and lower demand for rigs. A sustained downturn in day rates and utilization levels could affect Tuscany's ability to generate cash flow from operations and pressure its ratings. The drilling market is highly competitive and is characterized by short-term contracts. Companies in the sector tend to have short-term contract backlogs of one to two years, but have built long-term relationships with their client base. Tuscany's contract backlog is small given the company's short history. The company is expected to concentrate on building long-term commercial relationships in the short to medium term. A possible deterioration in customer credit quality remains a concern, although this risk is somewhat mitigated by reasonable customer diversification.

Growing Cash Flow Generation in 2012

The company's cash flow generation is expected to increase in 2012 due to the consolidation of recently incorporated assets in Brazil, Colombia and Africa. Fitch expects Tuscany's EBITDA to be approximately USD70 million in 2012, significantly higher than the USD32 million reported in 2011 as a result of the incorporation of the newly acquired assets. The company's EBITDA would likely remain at this level over the next four years with only modest increases due to improving efficiencies and modest fee increases. During the first nine months of 2012, EBITDA increased to USD49 million, reflecting the new business platform. Over the same period, Fitch expects annual interest for Tuscany to range between USD20 million and USD23 million and its annual maintenance capital expenditures to average approximately USD20 million. The company expects total debt to remain stable at USD245 million and to marginally decrease if it pays down a portion of its revolver debt overtime.

Improved Liquidity Position

Tuscany was able to improve its tight liquidity as it extended its loan due during September 2012 to September 2013 and modestly improving its debt profile. As of Sept 30, 2012, Tuscany's liquidity was low at USD 4.6 million but was enhanced by the company's access to a new committed revolving facility for USD45 million over the next five years. In November 2012, the company had drawn USD 25 million from such a facility. This facility will be replaced with a new USD 75 million revolver which will come into place once the bond is issued, Tuscany plans to draw USD45 million that will be used to cancel the previous facility, which will leave USD30 million of additional liquidity available under the revolver. Fitch expects Tuscany to maintain a more robust minimum cash position going forward.

Rating Drivers

Catalysts for a negative rating action include a significant deterioration of the company's rig fleet utilization levels, coupled with lower than expected day rates, which could lower EBITDA and lead the company's credit quality to deteriorate. The ratings could also be downgraded if the company's debt and coverage ratios do not improve in line with Fitch expectations. A positive rating action could result from the satisfactory consolidation of the company's current business, or a higher level of medium-term contracts with solid counterparts.

Company Profile

Tuscany is an oil and gas service company incorporated in Canada that operates, for the most part, in Latin America. The company offers drilling services and to a lesser extent work-over services. Approximately 80% of the company's rigs are less than five years old or have been recently refurbished. As a result of this, day rates for approximately 60% of rigs are at or above USD25,000. Tuscany operates predominantly in Latin America and approximately 60% of the fleet is concentrated in Colombia and Brazil, reflecting a modest geographic diversification. The company was created in 2008 and was initially focused on the construction of 19 state of the art onshore drilling rigs. In 2011, following the acquisitions of companies in Brazil, Colombia and Africa, Tuscany's rig fleet increased to 41. In May 2011, the company acquired Drillfor Perfuracoes do Brazil Ltd, which added 7 rigs. In September 2011, the company added 15 rigs to its fleet when it acquired Caroil for an all-in cost of USD204 million.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Corporate Rating Methodology' (Aug. 8, 2012).

--'Recovery Ratings and Notching Criteria for Nonfinancial Corporate Issuers' (May 4, 2012).

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

Corporate Rating Methodology

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=684460

Recovery Ratings and Notching Criteria for Non-Financial Corporate Issuers

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=693773

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst:
Ana Paula Ares, +54 11 5235 8121
Senior Director
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A.
Sarmiento 663, 7th floor, Buenos Aires
or
Secondary Analyst:
Lucas Aristizabal, +1-312-368-3260
Director
or
Committee Chair:
Joe Bormann, CFA, +1-312-368-3349
Managing Director
or
Media Relations:
Elizabeth Fogerty, New York, +1 212-908-0526
elizabeth.fogerty@fitchratings.com

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst:
Ana Paula Ares, +54 11 5235 8121
Senior Director
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A.
Sarmiento 663, 7th floor, Buenos Aires
or
Secondary Analyst:
Lucas Aristizabal, +1-312-368-3260
Director
or
Committee Chair:
Joe Bormann, CFA, +1-312-368-3349
Managing Director
or
Media Relations:
Elizabeth Fogerty, New York, +1 212-908-0526
elizabeth.fogerty@fitchratings.com