Transocean, the world's largest provider of offshore drilling services, announced details for its controversial dividend plan today, putting the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig one step closer to making its first cash payout to shareholders since the second quarter of 2002.
Switzerland-based Transocean (RIG) was blocked by Swiss court in August from paying the dividend due to the company's unknown financial liabilities tied to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In a regulatory filing released last week, Transocean maintains it bears no significant financial burden for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The company has consistently appealed the previous ruling of the Swiss court and is aiming to pay a dividend of 79 cents a share, equivalent to $252.4 million based on the current number of the company's outstanding shares on June 15, according to a statement issued by the company. If the plan is approved, Transocean shares would go ex-dividend on May 18 with a record date of May 20.
The proposed dividend is contingent on shareholders rescinding at the meeting a previously approved U.S. $1 billion distribution in the form of a par-value reduction, as well as shareholder approval of the proposal to carry forward available earnings, the company said in the statement. Transocean's annual shareholders meeting will be held on April 26 in Cham, Switzerland.
Assuming an annual dividend of $3.16 per share is paid, Transocean shares would yield almost 4% based on a closing price of $80, which the stock fell just short of on Monday.