November 27, 2001
Geophysical companies to merge
Here comes another "merger of equals." This time it's the boards of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA and Veritas DGC Inc. that have approved a definitive agreement to combine their two companies.
The combination will create the second largest company in the geophysical services industry with an equity market capitalization of approximately $1.0 billion and a total enterprise value of approximately $3.5 billion. The transaction is anticipated to be immediately accretive to the combined companys earnings and cash flow per share.
The new company will offer a full range of integrated marine and land geophysical services and floating production operations.
In a joint statement, Reidar Michaelsen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PGS, and Dave Robson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veritas, said, Growing global demand for reliable seismic data coupled with ongoing consolidation, both among our customers and in our industry, make this an opportune time for this combination. By combining our complementary, high-quality seismic data libraries, we will be uniquely positioned to offer our customers a much broader array of sophisticated 2D, 3D and 4D geophysical data in active and highly prospective areas around the world. Our combination will also create a more versatile marine seismic acquisition fleet that is second to none, with the ability to provide data acquisition services anywhere, at any time.
The combined company will be headquartered in Houston, Texas and will maintain a significant operating presence in Norway. On completion of the transaction,Michaelsen will serve as Chairman and Co-CEO of the combined company, with primary responsibility for the production business. Mr. Robson will become Vice Chairman and Co-CEO of the combined company, with primary responsibility for the geophysical business.
The companies expect to achieve annual pre-tax cost savings of at least $35 million. Savings are expected to come from the elimination of duplicative general and administrative and operating activities, improved operating efficiencies and the optimization of research and development efforts.
Terms and Conditions
Under the terms of the agreement, both Veritas and PGS will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. PGS shareholders who exchange their shares will receive 0.47 shares of the new holding companys common stock for each share of PGS they own. Veritas shareholders will receive one share of the new holding companys common stock for each share of Veritas they own. Based upon the closing stock prices of Veritas and PGS on Friday, November 23, 2001, this represents a value of $7.64 per PGS share, or a 44 percent premium to PGS shares. The transaction is expected to be tax-free to Veritas shareholders. The transaction is expected to be taxable to PGS shareholders; however, PGS expects to apply for tax-exempt treatment for Norwegian shareholders of PGS. At inception, PGS shareholders will own approximately 60 percent of the new holding company and Veritas shareholders will own approximately 40 percent.