* Archer to raise $250 mln in equity
* Sees private placement of $1/shr within next week
* Shipping tycoon John Fredriksen guarantees extra $100 mln
OSLO, Jan 31 Debt-ridden well company Archer
has reached a deal with its banks and shareholders,
among them top driller Seadrill, that will see the
firm raise $250 million in equity, with a private placement of
shares expected within the next week.
The firm, which provides drilling and well services to oil
companies, had breached its lending covenants at the end of the
third quarter and had been in negotiations with its lenders.
Under the deal, Archer will raise $250 million in equity,
which will be used to prepay debts of $100 million due in
November 2013 as well as other debts totalling $150 million.
Archer's biggest shareholder Seadrill, controlled by
shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, will give an additional
guarantee of $100 million to the company in order to avoid
further dilution to existing shareholders.
"The company intends to execute a private placement within
the next week," Archer said in a statement released after the
Oslo bourse was shut.
The minimum subscription price would be one dollar per
share, it said.
Shares in Archer closed up 6.24 percent to 6.30 crowns
($1.15), seven times less than the price two years ago.
Archer also reported fourth-quarter earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $30 million.
($1 = 5.4744 Norwegian kroner)
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)