January 25, 2018 / 7:16 AM / 9 months ago

Seadrill postpones restructuring plan hearing until Feb. 7

OSLO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Drilling rig company Seadrill has again postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan, this time by six days to Feb. 7, the company said in a U.S. court filing on Wednesday.

Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Seadrill filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices.

Seadrill’s main owner, Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, backed by Centerbridge Partners, and a group of unsecured bondholders have submitted alternative restructuring plans, and started talks earlier in January.

While both sides offered to invest around a billion dollars in Seadrill to continue its business of renting drilling rigs to oil companies, unsecured bondholders are aiming to increase their stake in the post-restructured company from around 15 percent offered in the original plan.

Fredriksen’s plan has been backed by more than 97 percent of Seadrill’s bank lenders holding about $5.7 billion in secured loans, and whose approval will be needed to any amendments.

A U.S. bankruptcy court in Texas had been scheduled to hold a preliminary hearing on Fredriksen’s plan on Jan. 10, but it was initially postponed to Feb. 1 after bondholders posted a near $100 million cash deposit to back their plan. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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