Shares of Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP), the leading land drilling contractor in the U.S., rose significantly in the first quarter. Over the past three years, Helmerich's market share has increased to 23% from 16%, while generating higher margins and returns than its main competitors. Its share price benefited from growing optimism that U.S. horizontal drilling activity will increase, spurring customer demand for new rigs. Helmerich also signed its biggest international contract in a decade in the first quarter. Helmerich is a best-in-class operator and remains a core position. (James Stone)
From Baron Funds' first quarter 2014 letter to shareholders.