February 6, 2018 / 10:57 AM / 19 days ago

Seadrill postpones court hearing on restructuring plan to Feb 26

LONDON (Reuters) - Drilling rig company Seadrill (SDRL.OL) said in a court filing it postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan to Feb. 26, buying more time to consider alternative plans.

Seadrill, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling rig operators, filed for bankruptcy in September after a steep drop in crude prices caused drastic cutbacks in oil company investment.

The company, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, had been working with creditors on a restructuring plan to bring in more than $1 billion in fresh funding, allow it to maintain its fleet of drilling units and pay creditors and staff.

It is the third time the company has postponed a hearing on its disclosure statement, which describes the restructuring plan and must be approved by the court before creditors can vote on the plan of reorganization.

Tuesday’s bankruptcy court filing also said the deadline for objecting to Seadrill’s plan had been extended to Feb. 19 for the official committee of unsecured creditors, an ad hoc group of bondholders and Barclays Capital.

The ad hoc group of bondholders and Barclays Capital have proposed alternative restructuring plans and posted a cash deposit that opened the way for talks.

    The bondholders’ alternative plan would also invest around $1 billion in Seadrill.

    Fredriksen’s proposal would give unsecured bondholders a stake of about 15 percent in the company, but would wipe out stakes of its existing shareholders. The plan submitted by the bondholders would give them a bigger stake, but the precise size was unclear.

    Fredriksen’s plan is backed by 97 percent of banks, who hold about $5.7 billion in secured loans. Their approval will be needed for any amendments.

    Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis and Clara Denina; editing by Louise Heavens

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