DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market

US-BASED Oaktree Capital Management’s acquisition last year of a 50% stake in deep core drilling specialist DDH1 turned its investment model on its head but showed (belated) recognition of an approach to the drilling business that could, if it was more widely adopted, lead the sector out of a deep, dark, unprofitable hole. The formula is set for a new test in 2018 as DDH1 and its experienced leadership executes on M&A and organic growth plans.

DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market DDH1 sees opportunity in turning market

A renowned “distressed investor” scouring the world for stricken assets, Oaktree went looking for trouble in the Australian drilling sector in the post-2012 downturn period and found plenty. What it discovered in DDH1, though, was a contractor growing against the broader sector retraction that had avoided many of the industry’s sins of the past and was also examining what was left standing on the field for quality expansion options.

Oaktree decided a premium drilling vehicle offered a better path into a sector with value-accretive consolidation opportunities than a battler.

And so now DDH1, with its well-utilised A$120 million drill fleet providing exposure to potentially strong margin improvement, is closing on one or more acquisitions co-founder Murray Pollock believes ...