Billionaire Fredriksen's Partner Quits Rig Firm Seadrill, Shares Fall


Sept 19 (Reuters) - A top executive at Norway's Seadrill , the world's largest rig company by market capitalisation, quit the board on Friday, sending the firm's shares 4 percent lower.

Tor Olav Troeim, who until recently was referred to as the right-hand man of big Seadrill shareholder John Fredriksen, will not seek reelection to the board of Seadrill, minutes from the annual general meeting showed on Friday.

Seadrill said in a statement Troeim would focus his efforts on developing liquefied natural gas shipping firm Golar LNG

Troeim was not immediately available for comment.

The company's shares were 4 percent lower at 1426 GMT, lagging the Oslo benchmark index's 0.11 percent fall.

Troeim announced in July he would withdraw from the boards of several of Fredriksen's companies "to focus his resources on fewer investments" but said at the time he would stay on the board of Seadrill.

Troeim, who has worked with shipping billionaire Fredriksen since the 1990s, had been instrumental in turning Seadrill from a small Norwegian rig firm into a major player in the oil sector.

In July Troeim owned 2.64 million shares in Seadrill. Friday's statement did not say whether he would sell his stake.

On Friday, Fredriksen reaffirmed his commitment to Seadrill, in which he is the biggest investor with a 24 percent stake.

"I consider my stake in Seadrill a long-term investment and investors can rest assured that no divestment is considered for (the) foreseeable future," Fredriksen said in the statement.

Seadrill shares have fallen by a quarter since the beginning of the year as oil companies curtail spending, hitting the rig sector hard, and due to international sanctions against Russia that are threatening a major partnership Seadrill has with oil producer Rosneft.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Ole Petter Skonnord; editing by Susan Thomas)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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