Crashing oil prices have scared away many investors from the energy sector, but they have also brought out some bargain hunters, no doubt betting on a rebound once the ongoing supply glut subsides. A rash of securities filings in Canada Wednesday shows some big institutional investors making moves on a suddenly deeply devalued sector.
Two buyers stand out: Franklin Resources, Inc. (better known as Franklin Templeton) and Invesco Canada Ltd., the fund giant best known in Canada as the overseer of the Trimark family of funds. Conspicuous among their purchases is a list of oil field services companies.
Franklin disclosed it has increased its stake in Trican Well Service Ltd by 1.5 million shares some time in the last seven months and now holds 27.5 million, or 18.4 per cent of the stock. Over the same period, it purchased 16.4 million shares of Twin Butte Energy Ltd., a Western Canadian intermediate-sized producer that recently cut its capital spending plans and sliced the size of its monthly dividend by more than one-third. Franklin now holds 19.6 per cent of the issuer. It has also increased its stake in PHX Energy Services Corp to 12 per cent, from 9.2 per cent. Finally, Franklin now owns 16 per cent of Long Run Exploration Ltd., a mid-sized oil and gas producer that has also recently cut its dividend.
For its part, Invesco now holds 12.7 per cent of each of Savanna Energy Services Corp. and Aveda Transportation and Energy Services Inc. (How much of the two firms Invesco owned before this latest report is unknown, but it was less than 10 per cent, which is the threshold for making public ownership disclosures in Canada.)
Weakness in the energy sector has also drawn interest from bond fund managers, who are convinced a mark-down in the price of some high-yield bonds from energy producers and service companies offer compelling investment opportunities.