October 13, 2016 / 4:11 PM / 9 months ago

Gulf Keystone beefs up board under new shareholder structure

2 Min Read

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Gulf Keystone Petroleum has appointed two new board members following the completion of its debt-for-equity swap with bondholders, beefing up its leadership team as it shifts from survival to growth.

The oil producer focused on Iraqi Kurdistan has appointed industry veterans David H. Thomas and Garrett Soden as non-executive directors, it said on Thursday, at the same time as announcing the completion of a restructuring deal converting more than $500 million of debt into equity for bondholders.

Thomas has held senior roles at oil companies ENI and ConocoPhillips and was involved with now-defunct Afren as well as PetroCeltic, which was taken over by its largest shareholder earlier this year.

Soden is a board member at Swedish oil firm Lundin and has previously been a senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Gulf Keystone, which has struggled amid weak crude prices and delayed oil export payments from the Kurdistan government, also raised $25 million through a share offer, giving it extra cash to invest in its flagship Shaikan oil field.

"With its restructured balance sheet, the company is now in a far stronger position than it has been for several years," Gulf Keystone Chairman Keith Lough said.

The debt-for-equity deal has given some bondholders, including distressed debt funds, significant stakes.

The new shareholder structure has not yet been made public. Sources previously told Reuters that funds such as Sothic Capital, CapeView Capital and GLG Partners were likely to gain equity in the oil producer. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by David Clarke)

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