ESV's pps had been stagnating for a long time and it paid a miniscule dividend before it moved it's HQ to the UK. Since it has moved to the UK, the dividend has increased dramatically and the pps has risen from $42 to $62; that's a 50% gain in about 3 years. Maybe the USA isn't a friendly place for the oil drillers to be HQ'd?
Rise in PPS has more to do with buying Pride than moving HQ to UK. The move to UK saves them $100 M a year in taxes. The Pride purchase will double revenue and the cash flow from all those new floaters will allow them to pay down the debt the took on in a couple of years. Those 9 Drillships @ $500K a day will do wonders for your stock.
I agree with Sollid, the original poster. Firstly, the dividend was raised over ten-fold almost immediately after the HQ moved to the UK. Secondly, the buyout of Pride also occurred after the move to the UK. The US, with it's many regulatory bodies may have prevented such a merger.
And the savings of $100 million a year in taxes, from the move, is nothing to ignore.
I believe that the US is unfriendly to oil drillers, both regulatory and tax-wise. I'm wondering if any major off-shore drillers are still headquartered in the US.