Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of proppant manufacturer FMSA Holdings (NYSE:FMSA) fell 10% Tuesday on the back of a downgrade from an analyst at Jefferies, which was likely on the back of the declining rig count in the United States.
So What: The mechanics of sand proppant companies such as FMSA -- also known as FairmontSantrol -- are pretty easy to follow: The amount of sand that the company will supply the oil and gas industry will depend on the overall drilling activity. According to Baker Hughes' Rig Count data, total active rigs drilling in the U.S. has declined by 25%, which is eventually leading to less service intensity and less sand needs.
To add insult to injury, FairmontSantrol is the nation's largest supplier of resin coated sands that are used for higher pressure, more specialized drilling locations, also known as the more expensive wells to drill. Since this type of drilling activity is likely to see the biggest drop off in activity, it could potentially sting FairmontSantrol more than some of the other companies in this space, such as Emerge Energy Services or Hi-Crush Partners, which supply raw sand to oil and gas producers -- a much less expensive product -- than resin coated sands.
Now What: FairmontSantrol couldn't have picked a worse time to IPO. The company went public back in October just as the oil market was starting to keel over and drilling activity was about to start seeing some cuts. Eventually the wells that will require FairmontSantrol's resin-coated sands will become economical again, but with over $1.2 billion in debt and a weak outlook it's questionable how long the company can wait for an uptick in the sand market.