Rig firm Seadrill, battling with $14 billion in debt and liabilities, said today that it may have to file for chapter 11 protection if it fails to reach a restructuring agreement with its lenders, Reuters reported. Once the crown jewel in the empire of shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, Oslo-listed Seadrill's shares have fallen 92 percent in the past three years as plunging crude prices and drastic spending cuts by oil companies hammered rig rates. Seadrill's problems mirror those of another Fredriksen business, tanker firm Frontline, which had to be rescued in 2012 after a prolonged slump in rates by Hemen Holding, which manages his holdings in the listed companies he controls. The Norwegian-born billionaire announced plans on Tuesday to beef up the tanker business and update its fleet while prices for vessels are low to position it for an expected recovery in rates from 2018. But the scale of Seadrill's liabilities dwarf those of Frontline, and the rig company said it would be challenging to find a "fully consensual agreement" before an April 30 deadline. More than 40 banks are involved, in addition to bondholders. Read more.
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