Noble Corporation to Leave Switzerland

noble drilling companySwitzerland-based drilling contractor Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) announced today plans to reincorporate from Zug, Switzerland to the United Kingdom.  The company’s shareholders will be asked to vote to approve the proposed change during the fourth quarter of 2013.

If approved, Noble expects the change of the place of incorporation to be effective as soon as practicable following the merger of Noble Corporation, the current Swiss parent company, into a newly formed company incorporated under English law.

Noble Corporation’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, David W. Williams comments,

“After careful consideration, our Board of Directors has concluded that a change in place of incorporation to the United Kingdom is in the best interests of Noble’s shareholders.  The United Kingdom’s position as an international business and travel center, coupled with its well established tax regime, will help us to maintain our competitive position in the global marketplace and manage our geographically dispersed operations.”

Could Transocean be next?

The world’s largest offshore drilling contractor Transocean is also based in Zug, Switzerland after having relocated its place of registration from the Cayman Islands in 2008. This move allowed Transocean to lower its corporate income tax rate from 35 percent in the US, to 16 percent in Zug, according to a 2010 report by the Associated Press.

I spoke with Noble spokesperson John Breed this morning and he mentions that all the financial data, and Q&A’s regarding this transaction will be released in a proxy filing in the very near future.  More updates to follow.