Transocean Shareholders Approve Company Name Change
At the company's Annual General Meeting held in St. James, Barbados, shareholders of Transocean Sedco Forex Inc. approved the company's name change to Transocean Inc. (NYSE:RIG). Because the new name is similar to the previous name, the company's CINS (CUSIP International Numbering System) number pertaining to its ordinary shares will remain G90078109.
In addition, shareholders approved the re-election of Ronald L. Kuehn, Paul B. Loyd, Jr., Roberto L. Monti and Ian C. Strachan to the company's Board of Directors for three-year terms. Mr. Kuehn is former Chairman of the Board and a current director of El Paso Corporation. Mr. Loyd is former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of R&B Falcon Corporation, which was acquired by the company in January 2001. Mr. Monti is the retired Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production at Repsol YPF. Mr. Strachan is former Deputy Chairman of Invensys plc. Finally, shareholders approved the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent auditors for 2002.
Following the Annual General Meeting, the company's Board of Directors voted to discontinue the payment of a cash dividend as part of a continuing effort to implement strategies that contribute to an optimal capital structure and more efficient allocation of cash flow. The elimination of the cash dividend will become effective following the payment of a final $0.03 per share dividend declared today by the company's Board. The final cash dividend will be payable on June 13, 2002, to shareholders of record on May 30, 2002.
In addressing the decision to eliminate the payment of a cash dividend, J. Michael Talbert, Chief Executive Officer of Transocean Inc., said, "Since early 2001, we have closed several financial transactions designed to establish the most advantageous capital structure for our company. These transactions, which included debt retirement, debt exchanges and fixed to floating interest rate swaps, immediately provide enhanced financial and operational flexibility. The elimination of a cash dividend represents a continuation of these efforts. Additionally, we believe the annual $39 million in cash required to produce a dividend yield that has averaged less than one half percent over the past six years could be used more effectively to achieve enhanced shareholder returns."
Talbert added, "Through mergers, acquisitions and new rig construction completed over the past 30 months, Transocean Inc. has become a company possessing sound financial strength and capacity which is best defined by a fleet contract backlog of estimated revenues in excess of $3 billion, growing cash balances of approximately $600 million at present, a declining level of net debt, declining capital expenditure requirements, a non-core asset divestiture program and $800 million in undrawn credit facilities."