Friday, November 2, 2018

Ocean Rig Sends Conflicting Signals

George Economou stepped down from serving as Ocean Rig's CEO last December, following the company's bankruptcy filing.  With respect to the March 2017 bankruptcy filing Economou explained:

Our entire team at Ocean Rig is wholly committed to the success of the company and looks forward to emergence from this financial restructuring that will ultimately enable us to better serve our customers in the long term.

Ocean Rig disclosed this year in an August 8 press release a net loss of $19.1 million and that it was postponing delivery of the Ocean Rig Crete to September 30, 2020.  Ocean Rig's new CEO Pankaj Khanna sent an optimistic message, closing with:

We are starting to see signs of increased spending in the offshore sector as tenders and requests for information keep coming in.  Based on market reports this is the highest level of enquiry since 2012. While we do not expect any material changes in drilling rates in the near future we project better utilization of the floater fleet and a rate recovery in 2019.  We believe that we are well positioned for a recovery in the floater market whenever this occurs.

On September 4 - less than a month after Ocean Rig's CEO Pankaj Khanna expressed belief the company was well positioned for a recovery in the floater market - Transocean Ltd. announced a proposed acquisition of Ocean Rig, representing it had been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company.  Transocean and Ocean Rig made a Joint Proxy Statement/Prospectus as part of seeking shareholder approval.

The Transocean/Ocean Rig Joint Proxy Statement/Prospectus, reveals that former CEO George Economou, through Marshall Islands registered TMS Offshore Ltd., which may be deemed to be beneficially owned by him, will be paid a 'convenience termination fee' of up to $134 million.'

Transocean is perhaps best known for the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion.  More recently, Bloomberg reported that Transocean had been linked to the Petrobras corruption probe, described by Bloomberg as Brazil's biggest corporate scandal.

Ocean Rig is defending against a shareholder appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is the highest federal court in the United States other than the Supreme Court.  I filed the appeal seeking to achieve review of injunctions obtained by Ocean Rig from a U.S. bankruptcy court.

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