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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Rieber Shipping hopes for 2017 seismic recovery, but is prepared to wait

(Corrects spelling of Shearwater)

OSLO, Oct 13 (Reuters) -

** CEO Irene Waage Basili of Norway's Rieber Shipping says hopes marine seismic market could begin to recover in 2017, but is prepared for current market weakness to last another 2-3 years

** Statement followed firm's announcement of agreement with Rasmussengruppen AS to establish a new, 50/50 owned marine geophysical company called Shearwater GeoServices AS

** CEO says as of today there is no increase in seismic tender activity, but sees rising interest from investors who believe this could be a good time to invest in the seismic industry

** CEO says Shearwater will focus on marine contract market and not on speculative multiclient investments (collecting data without contract)

** CEO says pre-funding level has to increase before Shearwater starts making multiclient investments

** Recently competitors PGS and TGS have announced higher-than-expected sales due to increased multiclient sales

** Broker Swedbank said in a note that establishment of a new seismic player could represent yet another data point supporting its view that the seismic market has passed the trough in this cycle

** Swedbank said a more fragmented vessel market is positive for TGS and Spectrum, which rent ships for their operations, and negative for vessel owners such as PGS , Polarcus, CGG and WesternGeco

** Rieber Shipping's shares are up 14 pct compared with a decline of 0.7 pct in Oslo's benchmark share index

INJECTING $60 MILLION

** Rieber Shipping will put its four 3D marine seismic vessels into Shearwater

** Rasmussengruppen will inject $45 million in cash and Rieber Shipping $15 million

** The injected cash will be used to withstand current weak market

** As of today none of the four ships are on contracts

** CEO says has some interesting leads but competition is tough

** The total value of the four seismic vessels is set to $228.5 million

** CEO says all debt related to the four vessels, around $190 million, will be transferred to Shearwater

** The four vessels were originally on long term contracts to Dolphin Group which earlier this year went bankrupt due to the weak market

** The seismic equipment on the vessels was owned by Dolphin. Shearwater will buy this equipment, which will add to the $190 million debt

** Says will not comment on the price for the seismic equipment

** In addition to cash injection from Rasmussengruppen and Rieber, a new bank deal is negotiated for the four vessels

** The new terms include a 75 percent reduction in instalments compared to the original repayment profile until June 2019 and an extension of the term of the loans until year-end 2022

** Acquisition of seismic equipment is financed by DNB and SR-Bank

** The sale of the vessels to Shearwater implies an impairment charge of approximately 130 million Norwegian crowns ($16.07 million), which will be booked in third quarter 2016

** CEO Irene Waage Basili of Rieber Shipping says she will act as interim CEO at Shearwater until a permanent CEO is picked

($1 = 8.0919 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting By Ole Petter Skonnord)

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