January 25, 2013 / 11:22 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Icahn pushes Transocean for dividend of at least $4/shr

(Recasts, adds details from filing, share price, background)

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn said on Friday that offshore rig contractor Transocean should declare a dividend of at least $4 per share, and said if it doesn‘t, he will propose it himself at the company’s next annual meeting, according to a regulatory filing.

Transocean earlier this month disclosed that Icahn held a 1.56 percent stake in the company and was seeking regulatory approval to acquire shares worth more than $682 million, which would make him one of Transocean’s largest shareholders with a stake just over 5 percent.

Shares of Switzerland-based Transocean, which had stopped paying a quarterly dividend last year, rose 2.5 percent in after-hours trading on the New York Stock Exchange in response to Icahn’s demand.

Icahn said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision that nothing in it “should be viewed as an indication that the Reporting Persons intend to launch, or are otherwise considering, a public takeover of the Issuer.”

Icahn also said he planned to talk to Transocean management about business and strategy, as well as the possible addition of shareholder-selected nominees to its board of directors.

After paying a dividend in 2011 that was its first in nine years, Transocean last year had to abandon quarterly payouts that had totaled $3.16 per share -- about $1 billion per year -- in order to maintain a strong balance sheet and investment-grade rating on its debt.

Shares of Transocean, owner of the world’s largest offshore drilling fleet, have risen more than a fifth since its settlement with the U.S. government earlier in January over its liability in the Macondo oil spill, which destroyed one of its rigs and killed 11 people.

Icahn declared his initial stake in the company 10 days later.

Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Gary Hill and Leslie Adler

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