World No.1 oil drilling contractor Transocean is to pay $1.43 billion for Aker Drilling, almost double its market price, to boost its presence in Norway and at the high-tech end of the industry.The 26.50 Norwegian crowns per share bid, at a 98.5 per cent premium to Aker Drilling’s closing price on Friday and 62 per cent above its 30-day average price, is backed by shareholders representing 60.5 per cent of its stock and beat off interest from other parties, Norway-based Aker said.
Transocean was owner and operater of the Deepwater Horizon rig used to drill the well that caused last year’s US Gulf oil spill disaster. The company suffered a loss of contract backlog in the second quarter and a fall in profits as costs rose more quickly that the deepwater drilling industry recovered from the drilling ban that followed the catastrophe. The deal adds $1 billion of contract backlog to its books.“Aker Drilling is an excellent strategic fit for Transocean. said Steven Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer.“Aker Drilling’s high-quality people and state- of-the-art offshore drilling fleet will ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding service to our customers. The deal, backed by Aker’s board, will be immediately earnings enhancing, the company said.Aker Drilling, spun off from Aker Solutions earlier this year, operates two harsh environment, ultra-deepwater semi-submersible rigs and is expected to take delivery in 2013 of two drillships under construction.
Shares in Aker Drilling rose to 26.1 crowns in early trade on Monday, slightly below Tranocean’s bid level. The share had until on Friday fallen 38 per cent from its peak at 21.40 crowns on March 1, a few days after its initial listing.
Aker Drilling’s main owner Aker Capital A/S, a subsidiary of Aker ASA, on Sunday agreed to sell its 41 per cent stake in the company, and Transocean has also received irrevocable pre-commitments of 19.5 per cent of the outstanding shares from other shareholders, including funds managed by TPG-Axon Capital.Oeyvind Eriksen, chief executive of Aker ASA, said in a statement the transaction “will be completed on competitive terms.”
From / Gulf Today