Seadrill plunges for second day amid bankruptcy rumours

SEADRILL Ltd., the offshore driller controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, filed for bankruptcy protection after working out a deal with almost all its senior lenders to inject $1 billion of new money into the company.

OSLO: Seadrill Ltd., the offshore driller controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, plunged for a second day amid speculation the company will be forced to file for bankruptcy as talks with investors and creditors drag on. 

The stock slumped 1.69 kroner, or 20 percent, to 7 kroner as of 9:44 a.m. in Oslo on Wednesday. It slid 38 percent on Tuesday, closing at a record low. 

Seadrill on Tuesday reached an agreement to extend the maturity on loans totaling $2.9 billion, pushing back a deadline for the restructuring to July 31 from the end of this month. 

Even so, a restructuring deal will likely include “schemes of arrangement or chapter 11 proceedings,” the company said. 

In an interview with Dagens Naringsliv later on Tuesday, Fredriksen said it was not certain that Chapter 11 would be the final outcome, though bondholders and shareholders will face dilution. 

The company is in talks to restructure the heaviest debt-load in the oil-rig industry, which became difficult to handle after oil prices started to tumble in 2014. 

With net interest-bearing debt of $8.9 billion at the end of 2016, the former top company of Fredriksen’s business empire has been particularly exposed as oil companies slashed spending, reducing demand for drilling even as new rigs ordered during the boom years added to the oversupply. - Bloomberg

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