At the start of the interview with IR magazine, Frederick Davidson mentions he will need to read his stack of mail at the same time. The CEO, president and head of IR at Energold Drilling is well practiced at multitasking. ‘I am the CEO of the company but I have always been its unofficial IR head as well,’ he explains. ‘I assumed it was my natural responsibility as president of the company. Perhaps my interest in IR comes from my need to communicate with investors and inform them personally where the company is headed. I like to interact with all stakeholders, including investors, regulators, clients, and in some cases, people from the communities we work with.’
Davidson founded Energold Drilling Corp ten years ago as an exploration company. Under his strategic guidance, the company has grown from six drilling rigs in 2006 to over 230 rigs today, drilling in 22 countries worldwide, spanning the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The company’s latest acquisitions, of Envirodrill and Dando Drilling International respectively, have proved successful in expanding its footprint into West Africa. Total revenue of $100 mn in 2011 is up from $1 mn a decade ago.
But Davidson’s ambitions do not stop there. ‘We have about 2300 employees and are currently No 6 or No 7 in the world on the mineral services side. We want to keep developing and expanding our business. Our aim is to be No 5 within the next three years. I think that is do-able,’ he says.
Such rapid expansion has meant employing someone to head up the IR team, too. ‘Jerry Huang will join our team shortly but I will continue to stay involved with investors and handle the one-on-one meetings with them,’ Davidson confirms.
Drilling in Peru
The CEO’s on-going commitment to investor relations is indicative of the important role that investors play in the business. His philosophy is to ‘educate the investor, not promote the investor’ and the CEO plans to spend a third of his time on IR in future. ‘I like to take a responsible stand. I believe an informed shareholder is the best shareholder. My company is not aggressive and we would rather educate our investors, and treat them as intelligent human beings.’
At the same time, the drilling company strives to be environmentally and socially accountable. Energold’s mining projects encounter rough terrains that can be composed of heavily forested areas in remote locations. Where the usual approach is to cut down the trees and develop a road infrastructure, Davidson’s company tries to minimize its impact on the local ecosystem, as he explains: ‘Energold deliberately keeps it rigs mobile and modular so that transporting each rig into these regions only require a one meter wide footpath.’
What’s more, the company employs between 15-25 local laborers or 'drill helpers' to assist with their overseas projects. ‘We believe exploration for minerals and energy is a necessity. There are no two ways about it. So we do what has to be done in the most effective way possible. We maintain minimal footprints environmentally and employ local people in our projects. Creating jobs creates an immediate impact on local communities and we are happy to be making a difference,’ says Davidson.