Tidewater (NYSE:TDW) owns and operates the world’s largest fleet of supply vessels for the offshore oil industry. Its fleet of nearly 450 platform service vessels are used to transport people and supplies to offshore installations around the world. Besides supply, its work includes towing and positioning mobile drilling rigs, and assisting offshore construction projects. Tidewater's primary competitors are Hornbeck Offshore Services (HOS), SEACOR SMIT (CKH), Hercules Offshore (HERO) and GulfMark Offshore (GMRK).
From 2003 to 2007 TDW’s total revenue increased by 77% and its operating income by 230%. The company’s rapid increase in revenue is a consequence of rising oil prices. Higher oil prices have led oil companies to spend more on offshore drilling, as many of these installations are only profitable when prices are high. With more offshore drilling comes a greater need to service and supply these offshore installations, which often require specialized ships to transport specialized cargo. As a result of this demand, TDW's average day rates have gone up from $5726 in the first quarter of 2005 to $9039 in the fourth quarter of 2007.(Read more at Wikinvest )