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Fredriksen Seen as `Central’ to Seadrill Solution, DNB Says

Fredriksen Seen as `Central’ to Seadrill Solution, DNB Says
After alternative proposals were unveiled seeking to challenge Seadrill Ltd.’s restructuring plan, one of the oil-rig company’s key banks said any deal will require the participation of billionaire John Fredriksen.

The comments from DNB ASA, one of eight members of a committee of Seadrill lenders, come after disgruntled bondholders have presented two rival restructuring offers for the company that challenge a plan backed by Fredriksen’s investment company Hemen Holding Ltd.

“We’re still optimistic with regards to finding a solution,” Kristin Holth, head of ocean industries at DNB, said in emailed comments. “As we’ve commented earlier, we believe Hemen is central to finding the solution.”

A 37-member investor group which owns more than $600 million in bonds last week completed a rival restructuring offer for Seadrill, hoping to get better terms than those proposed in the plan back by Fredriksen. Barclays Plc has also presented a separate plan, though it wasn’t clear whether it has completed remaining formalities to finalize its offer.

Once the flagship of Fredriksen’s business empire, Seadrill filed for bankruptcy protection in September, unable to cope with about $13 billion in liabilities. The company presented a restructuring plan backed by virtually all of its banks, in which Fredriksen and a few select investors would take the lead in contributing $1.06 billion in fresh capital. In return, they would get a majority of the new equity in the company, while bondholders not included in the negotiations stand to get at most 18 percent.

“Discussions are still going on between the different parties,” DNB’s Holth said. “It’s not surprising that competing offers have come on the table.”

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