Valaris is preparing for possible debt rescheduling
Offshore oil drilling company Valaris PLC is reviewing debt restructuring options as it grapples with an oil rig accident and a wider collapse in energy prices, people familiar with the matter said Friday.
Valaris has sought advice from law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s debt restructuring law firm on how to overhaul its $ 6.5 billion mountain of debt and is considering hiring a turnaround firm that specializes in addressing dire finances to bolster their list of advisors, the sources said.
The London-based company had previously worked with investment bank Lazard Ltd on debt restructuring options as well as a number of ongoing cost-cutting measures.
Valaris is not facing any formal debt restructuring like filing for bankruptcy, although the company is considering significant steps to overhaul its finances, the sources added.
At the end of 2019, there were $ 1.7 billion in liquidity available, enough to cover debt due by 2024, the company said on February 20. It’s not clear how quickly the company will burn its cash due to the shock this has inflicted on its business for one month through the global downturn.
The sources asked for anonymity as the matter is confidential. Valaris declined to comment, while Kirkland & Ellis and Lazard did not respond to requests for comment.
Companies serving oil and gas producers have been hit by the collapse in energy markets sparked by an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and concerns over economic stagnation due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Even before the recent downturn, offshore drills were slowly being choked off by persistently low daily rates for their services and huge mountains of debt. In November, Seadrill said it was talking to its lenders about restructuring $ 7.5 billion in debt.
Valaris stock has fallen more than 90% since the start of the year, while the 8% bonds due in January 2024 traded at around 14 cents per dollar, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.
Founded last year by the merger of Ensco and Rowan Companies, Valaris settled a dispute with Luminus Management in January that gave the company’s largest shareholder a seat on the board after the activist hedge fund pushed for better governance and changes to its capital structure .
Five weeks later, Valaris reported an accident in which one of its oil rigs was damaged off the coast of Angola. As a result, a contract with France’s Total SA, one of Valaris’ most lucrative ones, could be terminated, the company warned in a March 10 filing for approval.
That could cut up to $ 150 million from a commonly used annual earnings metric that Valaris expected to reach up to $ 240 million, the company said.
(Reporting by David French, Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)