2013-08-15 11:32:01 -
Hamilton, Bermuda, August 15, 2013 - North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. ("NADL" or the
"Company") and Seadrill Limited ("Seadrill") announced in their first
2013 reports that the companies were actively engaged in discussions with
potential strategic partners in order to strengthen NADL's position in harsh
The basis for the establishment of NADL in 2011 was to carve out a premium
specialist operator with a superior safety standard in harsh environment areas
and to use this as a platform to grow the business substantially. NADL builds on
a 40-year history of drilling operations and a best-in-class track record in
challenging areas. The recent discoveries and activities in harsh environment
areas like Norway, Northern part
of the UK, North Canada and Alaska, Greenland,
Arctic and Northern and Far East part of Russia strongly confirm this growth
opportunity. The supply and demand balance for these markets looks tight
considering that very few suitable new units are to be delivered in the next
years. It is likely that this new capacity is insufficient to meet what is
expected to be a very high growth in demand for drilling activities.
The boards of Seadrill and NADL have in this respect focused on further
strengthening the foothold for future operations in new offshore frontiers,
including the emerging Arctic and sub-Arctic harsh environment areas in the
Northern hemisphere. Particular focus has been placed on pursuing business in
the promising Russian offshore sector.
NADL and Seadrill are pleased to announce that a preliminary agreement to create
a strategic partnership with a strong industrial player has been reached to
foster growth of the company's harsh environment business. The potential
strategic partner has a strong foothold in the Russian market, vast experience
and competence in Arctic operations, including unique expertise in ice
management. The partnership brings together organisations with complimentary
skillsets well positioned to capture growth, building on their respective
experience and know-how and creating new industrial synergies.
The potential strategic partner will initially purchase a substantial minority
stake in NADL from Seadrill priced around current market levels. Further the
partner will be granted an option to acquire a majority stake at a later stage
at a premium to the current market levels. Signing and closing of the
transaction is expected within the third quarter of 2013. Both Seadrill and the
potential strategic partner strongly support an immediate US-listing of NADL
post closing of the first part of the transaction.
The Company's operations in Stavanger will continue as today and will focus on
the current operations and future growth. The strategic partnership is likely to
entail opening up of other regional offices to serve local growth in demand.
Overall activity level is expected to increase and provide employees with
Seadrill is fully committed to remaining a long term shareholder and partner in
NADL. The board is confident that the agreed partnership structure will
strengthen NADL as the leading pure play harsh environment drilling company and
position it uniquely to increase the value for all of the Company's shareholders
and make it an even more attractive workplace for the employees.
It is Seadrill's intention that parts of the proceeds it will receive from the
first phase of the transaction will be used to purchase shares in the open
market in order to re-increase its ownership in NADL. The remaining proceeds
will be used to fund existing and new growth opportunities within Seadrill's
global ultra-deepwater and premium jack-up businesses and might also be used to
support Seadrill's share of further growth in NADL.
Seadrill has since January 1, 2013 committed approximately US$5 billion in
acquisitions and newbuild orders. Based on these investments Seadrill expects
high growth in earnings and dividend capacity in the years to come. The Boards
of Seadrill and NADL will continue to look for further strategic opportunities
with a target to better position our companies for future business.
NADL is an offshore harsh environment drilling company with focus on the North
Atlantic basin. The company has nine drilling units in the fleet, including five
semi-submersible, a drillship, and three jack-up rigs. Seadrill Limited
currently owns 74% of the outstanding shares and the company is listed on the
Norwegian OTC exchange with a market capitalization of approximately US$2.3
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section
5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.
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Source: Seadrill Limited via Thomson Reuters ONE