Veritas and PGS Agree To Merge

Petroleum Geo-Services ASA and Veritas DGC Inc. announced that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine the two companies in a merger of equals. The combination will create the second largest company in the geophysical services industry with an equity market capitalization of approximately $1.0 billion and a total enterprise value of approximately $3.5 billion. The transaction is anticipated to be immediately accretive to the combined company's earnings and cash flow per share.

The new company will offer a full range of integrated marine and land geophysical services and floating production operations. Benefits from the merger include:

  • Leading presence in global marine and land seismic markets
  • Largest, newest and most geographically diverse seismic library with over 400,000 square kilometers of modern 3D data
  • More flexible, technologically advanced and efficient seismic fleet
  • Owner and operator of four high-tech floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels
  • Operator of more than 20 production installations in the North Sea, including six floaters
  • Broader geographic scope in seismic acquisition capabilities
  • Significant leading-edge data-processing, interpretation and reservoir technologies
  • Initial estimated annual cost savings of at least $35 million
  • More stable and diversified cash flow stream
  • Improved liquidity and enhanced financial flexibility

In a joint statement, Reidar Michaelsen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PGS, and Dave Robson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veritas, said, "Growing global demand for reliable seismic data coupled with ongoing consolidation, both among our customers and in our industry, make this an opportune time for this combination. By combining our complementary, high-quality seismic data libraries, we will be uniquely positioned to offer our customers a much broader array of sophisticated 2D, 3D and 4D geophysical data in active and highly prospective areas around the world. Our combination will also create a more versatile marine seismic acquisition fleet that is second to none, with the ability to provide data acquisition services anywhere, at any time."

"We are excited about the tremendous upside potential this transaction creates for the combined company and its shareholders, customers and employees. The combination of Veritas and PGS will enable us to offer fully integrated services to our customers and will give us the strength, flexibility and resources to compete more effectively and efficiently on a broader global scale. Our combined company will also possess the depth of talent and financial strength to pursue exciting new growth opportunities around the world."

The combined company will boast an industry-leading portfolio including:

  • 400,000 square kilometers of modern 3D data
  • 21 marine seismic crews
  • 83,000 land seismic channels capable of fielding 25 to 30 high-tech 3D crews
  • 4 high-tech, harsh environment FPSO vessels
  • More than 20 data processing centers
  • 8 data visualization centers

The combined company will be headquartered in Houston, Texas, and will maintain a significant operating presence in Norway. Upon completion of the transaction, Mr. Michaelsen will serve as Chairman and Co-CEO of the combined company, with primary responsibility for the production business. Mr. Robson will become Vice Chairman and Co-CEO of the combined company, with primary responsibility for the geophysical business. The combined company's Board of Directors will be comprised of ten directors, four designated from each of the two companies, including Mr. Robson and Mr. Michaelsen, and two newly appointed unaffiliated directors.

The companies expect to achieve annual pre-tax cost savings of at least $35 million. Savings are expected to come from the elimination of duplicative general and administrative and operating activities, improved operating efficiencies and the optimization of research and development efforts.

Under the terms of the agreement, both Veritas and PGS will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. PGS shareholders who exchange their shares will receive 0.47 shares of the new holding company's common stock for each share of PGS they own. Veritas shareholders will receive one share of the new holding company's common stock for each share of Veritas they own. Based upon the closing stock prices of Veritas and PGS on Friday, November 23, 2001, this represents a value of $7.64 per PGS share, or a 44 percent premium to PGS shares. The transaction is expected to be tax-free to Veritas shareholders. The transaction is expected to be taxable to PGS shareholders; however, PGS expects to apply for tax-exempt treatment for Norwegian shareholders of PGS. At inception, PGS shareholders will own approximately 60 percent of the new holding company and Veritas shareholders will own approximately 40 percent.

The transaction is conditioned upon, among other things, the approval of a majority of Veritas shareholders, expiration of the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period, listing of the new holding company's shares on the NYSE and customary regulatory approvals. The transaction also requires 90 percent of PGS shareholders to exchange their shares for the new holding company's ordinary shares. The companies expect that the transaction can be completed in the second quarter of 2002. The new company also intends to pursue the listing of its shares on the Oslo and Toronto stock exchanges.