DOF Group appears to have enough backing to force through an emergency state-led “reconstruction” after shareholders voted against a $1.9bn refinancing deal agreed with a group of banks and bondholders.

The vote shocked the Norwegian offshore sector on Friday and left DOF with two fallback options: a process under the Norwegian Reconstruction Act, or bankruptcy.

Minutes of the shareholders meeting filed with the Oslo Stock Exchange show 55.6% of the shares voted for the debt-swap proposal that would have left investors with 4% of the offshore vessel owner.

But this was not enough to reach an unspecified threshold for approval.

A rebel group of minority investors have been opposing any kind of debt swap.

The reconstruction plan, which will leave shareholders with 1% of the surviving entity, needs only a simple majority of 50% plus one vote to pass at a subsequent meeting, however.

Another item on the agenda was also voted down. A group of shareholders led by Bjarte Bronmo proposed an investigation into the value of the company’s assets. Only 45.1% of the votes were in favour of this.

DOF has not commented on the results of the meeting beyond statements to the Oslo exchange.

The minutes reveal chairman Hans Olav Lindal and chief financial officer Hilde Dronen gave an account of the background for the restructuring proposal.

The Oslo-listed owner of offshore support vessels agreed a debt-to-equity swap earlier this year to secure its future.

Debt growing

DOF is the last of the major Norwegian offshore vessel owners to complete its refinancing after years of weak OSV markets.

It said last month that debt had swollen to NOK 23.16bn ($2.25bn) in the third quarter, as the US dollar strengthened.

When the group agreed on the rescue plan in June with a “substantial group” of creditors, the debt stood at NOK 18.7bn.

Bondholders had cleared the deal earlier this month.