State-run China Merchants Group is looking at buying up cheap offshore rig operators, according to a report carried on Bloomberg.
The report states China Merchants is looking at John Fredriksen’s Seadrill as well as Shelf Drilling, however officials at the group’s headquarters denied the claims when contacted by Splash today.
Splash understands however that Seadrill has held discussions with China Merchants, a diverse group that has rig builder CIMC Raffles among its many assets.
“Fredriksen is trying to make them refinance, without making his banks take a haircut,” a source told Splash of the China Merchants discussions. Seadrill bondholders are likely to take a hit in the potential deal being hatched.
The 18-month restructuring of Seadrill has been the most complex financial manoeuvre in John Fredriksen’s 50-plus year career in shipping, the tycoon revealed earlier this year. Seadrill, with debts of more than $10bn, said last month it would file for chapter 11 by September 12.