Shares of McDermott International Inc. rocketed 82% in very active premarket trading Friday, after the provider of engineering and construction services to the energy industry said it was exploring the sale of its Lummus Technology business, which has been valued at more than $2.5 billion. Trading volume topped 8.9 million shares, making the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open. The company said it recently received unsolicited approaches to acquire all or part of Lummus, which is a licensor of proprietary petrochemicals, refining, gasification and gas processing technologies. "The process of exploring strategic alternatives is part of our ongoing efforts intended to improve McDermott's capital structure, and we plan to use the proceeds from any transaction involving Lummus Technology to strengthen our balance sheet," said Chief Executive David Dickson. McDermott said it has retained Evercore as lead advisor on strategic alternatives for McDermott. The stock, which has plummeted 73% this week through Thursday amid concerns the company may be mulling a bankruptcy, has shed 92% over the past 12 months through Thursday, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (PSE:XLE) has lost 18.5% and the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has gained 2.6%.
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