Esa Ikäheimonen

Transocean Snatches New CFO, Sells Jack-Up Fleet, and Plans Bond Sale for Drillships [UPDATE]

Rob Almeida
Total Views: 1
September 10, 2012

Esa Ikäheimonen

Big announcements were made today by Switzerland-based deep water drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX:RIGN).

In a move to make the company a more vertically oriented player in the deepwater drilling market, Transocean sold 38 of their shallow water drilling rigs to newly established private equity firm Shelf Drilling International Holdings, Ltd. for approximately $1.05 billion.  From an investors perspective, this move will align Transocean closer with Ocean Rig, a pure play in the ultra-deepwater market that is currently trading at 63 times their earnings.

Close competitor to both Transocean and Ocean Rig is Seadrill, which still maintains their fleet of 21 jack-ups, along with their fleet of high spec deep water drilling units.

Seadrill however, is now looking for a new Chief Financial Officer following the announcement that Esa Ikäheimonen was deftly recruited to succeed Gregory L. Cauthen as Transocean’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer on November 15, 2012.

Based in Geneva, Mr. Ikäheimonen will report to Steven L. Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Update 1: Also on Monday Transocean announced that that it plans to sell $1.5 billion of debt to fund the construction of four newbuild drillships. Transocean says that it is currently in discussions with a major integrated international oil company for the construction of, and associated drilling contracts for, for the ultra-deepwater newbuilds. The going rate for such vessels is upwards of $600 million.

Update2: In yet another announcement, it was disclosed Monday that Transocean has discussed a $1.5 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve its civil and criminal claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The company said in an SEC filing that it still has fundamental issues to be worked out before it can reach an agreement with the department, including the factual basis of a plea, whether certain claims will be included in a settlement, and the time period for payment. But if there is a settlement, Transocean said it will likely not exceed the $2 billion the company has already set aside to cover that cost.

All in one day…

About Esa Ikäheimonen

Mr. Ikäheimonen has spent the majority of his 22 year career in the energy sector. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Ikäheimonen served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Seadrill Ltd. From 2009 to 2010, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pöyry PLC, a global consulting and engineering company. Prior to joining Pöyry, Mr. Ikäheimonen was employed by Royal Dutch Shell for almost 20 years. At Shell, he held several senior positions, including Regional Vice President Finance for Upstream in both Africa and the Middle-East, Finance and Commercial Director in Qatar, and Downstream Finance Director for Scandinavia. He also has extensive M&A experience as a Portfolio Manager for Oil Products Europe. Mr. Ikäheimonen earned a Masters Degree in Law from the University of Turku in Finland, specializing in tax law and tax planning.

“Esa’s extensive experience and industry knowledge make him a great fit for this key role at Transocean,” Mr. Newman said. “We welcome him to our executive management team and look forward to his contributions. I also express my sincere gratitude to Greg for his extraordinary efforts and dedication during this challenging period in Transocean’s history and for his assistance and support during Esa’s transition period. I wish Greg the best in the future.”

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