Norwegian investor Christen Sveaas is seeking to instigate a revolt among Solstad Offshore shareholders as a result of its latest refinancing.
The Solstad Offshore board has received a letter from Sveaas’ investment company, Kistefos, calling for a general meeting of shareholders.
Kistefos, which owns Western Bulk and Viking Supply Ships, will propose legal action against a range of Solstad Offshore insiders “in respect of alleged losses suffered” by the Oslo-listed offshore support vessel owner resulting from the October transaction.
The legal targets include all Solstad directors and chief executive Lars Peder Solstad; major shareholder Kjell Inge Rokke and his Aker Capital; and Oslo-listed company AMSC, which owns a construction vessel chartered by Solstad.
Solstad’s new holding company, Solstad NewCo, is also listed as a “potential” target.
Kistefos is proposing that the company bring a claim for repayment of “unlawful distributions”.
Sveaas also wants a substitute board elected to handle the legal action.
Kistefos holds 5.16% of Solstad, which entitles Sveaas to convene a meeting.
A date for this has not yet been set. Solstad said its directors will publish their views on the matter later.
Legal action looks like a distant prospect due to the stakes owned by those Sveaas wants to sue.
New parent company and controlling shareholder
In the $875m refinancing, tycoon Rokke took over the company with a 57% stake in Solstad NewCo, which has been set up due to the deal’s complexity.
The transaction also involved Aker-backed AMSC, formerly American Shipping Co, which owns the Solstad-chartered 178-loa offshore construction vessel Normand Maximus (built 2016), plus DNB and Export Finance Norway (Eksfin).
DNB and Eksfin will underwrite a new loan worth NOK 9.7bn ($875m) to refinance the fleet fully. This matures over three years with two one-year options and will replace NOK 11.9m of debt.
Solstad NewCo will be formed with a total of NOK 4bn in new equity.
Aker is pumping in at least NOK 2.25bn, and AMSC will contribute the Normand Maximus for NOK 1bn of shares.
Solstad Offshore will retain a 27% interest in Solstad NewCo.
The company sold its fleet of platform supply vessels to US owner Tidewater this year.
This was its third major reorganisation in six years, following a $2bn debt restructuring in 2020 and a 2017 deal in which John Fredriksen’s Deep Sea Supply and domestic owner Farstad Shipping merged into Solstad in a transaction that also involved Rokke.
Solstad had already taken over Rem Offshore following the slump in the OSV market.