Gulf coast oil spill boosts this company's stock

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Shares of Nalco Holding Company rose Monday after the chemical manufacturer confirmed it was providing a solvent that disperses oil to help BP clean up the massive spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico.

The Naperville, Ill.-based company's stock was up $1.85, or 7%, to $27.49 a share. Earlier, the stock rose more than 18% to a high of $29.25.

Erik Fyrwald, Nalco's chief executive, said in a statement that the company will continue to provide the oil-dispersing solvent for as long as necessary.

"We all are committed to helping the people and environment of the Gulf Coast recover as rapidly as possible," said Fyrwald.

Nalco makes a range of chemical products for the energy industry, including an "oil spill dispersant" called Corexit 9500.

"Corexit 9500 is used to disperse oil spilled on the sea, thereby minimizing its environmental impact," according to a Nalco product bulletin.

However, Nalco is predominantly a water treatment company, and oil dispersing solvents are a relatively small part of its overall business.

Fyrwald said sales of oil dispersants have not had a "material financial impact" on Nalco so far. "But it is impossible to predict at this time how long this incident will last or the magnitude of the overall response needed," he added.

John Quealy, an analysts who covers Nalco at investment house Canaccord Adams, said investors are betting the company's close ties to the industry and its "strong product platform" could pay off.

"When oil companies have problems like this, Nalco is one of the few companies in the world that they look to for help," he said.

Meanwhile, Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, told NPR's "Morning Edition" that the company will "absolutely be paying for the cleanup operation" of the spill.

Hayward's comments came as BP's ruptured undersea well off of Louisiana continued to spew about 210,000 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to corral the rapidly growing oil spill have so far been unsuccessful.

The oil was still nine miles off the Louisiana coast early Monday, but seas of six to 10 feet have complicated efforts to deploy booms to fend the spill off the coast.

Clean up costs are currently running about $6 million a day, according to BP. However, analysts say BP can expect to spend at least double what it's shelling out now once the spill hits shore.  To top of page

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