Seismic surveyor Dolphin files for bankruptcy

[OSLO] Dolphin Group ASA, a Norwegian seismic surveyor that maps the seabed for oil and gas reservoirs, filed for bankruptcy as the collapse in crude prices claimed another victim.

The Oslo-based company failed to reach a agreement with bondholders, banks and other stakeholders to restructure its debt and capital structure after months of talks and will file a petition for bankruptcy on Monday, it said in a statement. Trading in the company's stock, which has plunged 96 per cent this year to 0.11 krone, was suspended by the Oslo stock exchange and the Financial Supervisory Authority.

"In light of the unpredictability of the oil price and subsequent spending cuts of our customers, it has become impossible to have the visibility needed to continue our business," Chairman Tim Wells and Chief Executive Officer Atle Jacobsen said jointly in the statement. Subsidiary Dolphin Geophysical AS will also file a petition for bankruptcy with the relevant court, the company said.

Oil companies have slashed spending as crude prices have tumbled by about 67 per cent over the past June 2014, reducing demand for services and equipment from companies ranging from seismic surveyors to engineering firms and offshore drillers.

French oilfield surveyor CGG SA proposed last week a sale of as much as 350 million euros (US$383 million) of new shares while Petroleum Geo-Services ASA raised about 920 million (US$106 million) kroner in a sale of shares in November. Polarcus Ltd, another Oslo-listed seismic surveyor, said last week that it started talks with banks and bondholders to restructure debt and halted all interest and amortization payments.

Dolphin Group had senior unsecured bonds totaling 900 million kroner and a market capitalization of 45.7 million kroner at market close on Dec 11.


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