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File picture: Fire boat crews battle the blazing remnants of Transocean's Deepwater Horizon rig.

HO/Reuters

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan bought up about 5.6 million shares of Transocean Ltd. during the second quarter, as the oil driller- owner of the well that leaked BP oil into the Gulf of Mexico- saw its stock value sink.

Teachers bought 5.56 million shares in the company, its second quarter filing shows.

That amounts to a 1.7 per cent stake in Transocean, worth about $297-million (U.S.)_based on Wednesday's closing price.

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Transocean's stock has lost nearly half of its value since the oil spill crisis first surfaced in April, when shares in the company were hovering around $90.

It closed at $53.56 Wednesday, up 3.17, or 6 per cent with over 17.7 million changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange.

Transocean owned the rig involved in the April 20 explosion - the Deepwater Horizon - which triggered the worst-ever offshore oil spill in the U.S. and sent its shares plunging.

The company has recovered some of its share value since reaching lows of close to $40 in June.

BP PLC's stock market value has also been decimated since the spill, but shares have gained some ground recently, now trading about a third lower than before the blowout.

Ontario Teachers' spokeswoman Deborah Allan would not comment on whether Teachers' is betting on a recovery of the oil driller's share price, adding that the plan doesn't comment on individual transactions.

Teachers is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada, with $96.4-billion in net assets at Dec. 31.

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It invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 289,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.

Transocean on Wednesday reported that second-quarter net income fell 11 per cent as it lost revenue from the ill-fated oil rig it leased to BP in the Gulf of Mexico and charged lower rates for some rigs still in operation.

The world's largest offshore drilling contractor incurred after-tax costs of $69-million (U.S.) associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident. That was more than offset by $267-million in insurance payments for the lost rig.

For the second quarter, Transocean had net income of $715-million, or $2.22 a share, down from $806-million, or $2.49 a share a year ago.

Operating revenue fell to $2.5-billion from $2.9-billion.

The company has also agreed to alert the U.S. Justice Department before buying back shares or making large cash outlays.

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With files from The Associated Press

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