Noble spin off plan

Noble Corporation has announced plans to spin off its standard specification drilling units into a new separate company.

The new company will own and operate standard specification drilling units from the Noble fleet, with the new company focusing on high-specification assets, which a particular focus on deep and ultra-deepwater. 

Noble said the move would allow each company to have a more focused business and operational strategy, and improve growth potential and value. 

Under the plans, the new company will take over five drillships, three semisubmersibles, 34 jackups, two submersibles, and one floating production, storage and offloading vessel.

The new company will also be responsible for the Hibernia platform operations.  

Noble will retain its high-specification assets, and will have a particular operating focus in deepwater and ultra-deepwater markets for drillships and semisubmersibles, and harsh environment and high-specification markets for jackups.

David W. Williams will remain as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Noble. 

The plan, which has been approved by Noble's board of directors, would see shares in the new company distributed to Noble shareholders.  

Subject to business, market, regulatory and other considerations, it may also involve an initial public offering of up to 20% of shares in the new company, which could happen late 2013-early 2014.

The move is subject to the approval of Noble's shareholders, which the company anticipates seeking in the second quarter of 2014. If approved, the spin-off could be completed by the end of 2014.  

Image: Noble Corp.'s semisubmersible Noble Ton van Langeveld, built in 1979 and upgraded in 2000. The older fleet will be spun off into a new, seperate company. Courtesy Noble Corp.

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