Offshore drilling firm Seadrill rose the most in more than seven years as investors covered short bets after the company’s main owner, billionaire John Fredriksen, freed up $510 million in cash, fueling speculation of a bailout.
Seadrill rose as much as 28%, the most since November 24, 2008, and traded 23% higher at 25.9 kroner as of 10:19 a.m. in Oslo.
Almost 4 million shares were exchanged, equivalent to more than 70 percent of the daily average over the past three months.
Contracts betting on a decline in the shares fell to about 14% of the tradable stocks from as high as 22% in November.
Earlier this week, Fredriksen sold a third of his shares in salmon farmer Marine Harvest, spurring talk he could be getting ready to invest more in Seadrill.
The driller has said it will come out with a plan to restructure almost $11billion in debt by end of June.
“It’s short-covering within the industry — the entire rig sector is heavily shorted,” Lukas Daul, an analyst at ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, said by phone.
“In addition, some may think that with the sale realized in Marine Harvest, Fredriksen has more money to contribute with regards to Seadrill.”
Seadrill’s funding plan is likely to involve the issue of at least $1billion in new equity, according to analysts including Janne Kvernland of Nordea Bank AB. The participation of Fredriksen, who owns about 24 percent of the company, will be key, she said earlier this week.
Seadrill rose 15% in US trading yesterday, while rivals Ensco gained 14% and Transocean 10% as Brent crude rose for four straight sessions to the highest level since early January.
Rig companies have been battered by the oil-price collapse since the middle of 2014, with spending on drilling plunging, reducing demand just as a wave of new rigs strengthened supply. Seadrill has fallen 69% over the past 12 months.