Brigham Upgraded to Strong Buy from OUTPERFORM by Raymond James


Investment dealer Raymond James upgraded its rating of exploration and production company Brigham (BEXP:NASDAQ) to Strong Buy from OUTPERFORM as emerging technologies and new techniques will improve the company's efficiency and reduce the time it needs to drill wells. The company's costs needed to drill wells will fall as it makes greater usage of zipper fracking. The combined benefits of lowered costs and expedited drilling operations will drive up the company's cash flow per debt-adjusted share.

Brigham has been utilizing "experimental" techniques for fracking and batch drilling. Raymond James predicts that the exploration and production company will increase its utilization of zipper fracs from 60 percent for this year to around 75 percent for 2012, with higher utilization in subsequent years. While three-well zipper fracs are currently in use, management has stated that zipper fracs involving four wells and even more are a possibility.

Raymond James increased its target price for Brigham to $40, which is a seven times multiple of the company's 2012 EBITDA. Through anticipated growth in cash flow and cost savings, the company hopes to be more resilient when market challenges arise.