Valaris investor gets seat on board of directors

Offshore drilling contractor Valaris has appointed a new member of its board of directors as part of the company’s board refreshment program.

Valaris’ rigs; Source: Flickr; Author: David Maxfield – under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Valaris said on Monday that it had named Adam Weitzman to its board of directors. He will also serve on the finance committee, to assist in the board’s oversight of the company’s capital structure and financial strategies, as well as the compensation committee.

With this appointment, the Valaris board will be comprised of 12 directors, 11 of whom will stand for re-election at the company’s 2020 annual general meeting of shareholders.

Weitzman, a partner at Luminus Management, has been investing in offshore drilling companies and other energy-related public companies for more than a decade. He brings with him expertise in debt and equity capital markets, asset allocation and risk management. Luminus owns approximately 18.7 percent of the outstanding shares of Valaris.

Carl G. Trowell, executive chairman of the board, said: “We welcome Adam to the board and appreciate Luminus’ ongoing support for the company.

“After extensive discussions with Luminus, we have aligned on the company’s capital allocation priorities going forward, including the importance of optimizing our financial runway and liquidity position and utilizing the tools available to the company to create additional long-term shareholder value.

“We remain focused on delivering the merger-related synergies and additional cost savings we previously announced and capitalizing on increasing customer demand and higher day rates. As we execute our long-term strategy, we look forward to benefiting from Adam’s capital markets expertise and his perspective as a representative of our largest shareholder.”

Regarding his, Weitzman stated: “Luminus applauds Valaris’ recent moves to augment the board, and we are pleased to have reached a comprehensive agreement with Valaris. We look forward to contributing to the company’s ongoing efforts to solidify its position as the leading offshore driller.

“We appreciate the board’s responsiveness to our concerns, including the appointment of three new directors with impressive expertise in capital structure and capital markets, and the formation of the Finance Committee.”

According to the company, the appointment of Weitzman is part of the company’s comprehensive board refreshment and corporate governance enhancement efforts, including the addition of Georges Lambert and Frederick Arnold as new independent directors, augmenting the board’s expertise in equity and debt capital markets and corporate governance.

The company also announced that three directors stepped down and made a commitment to appoint an independent chairman in 2020.

In connection with Weitzman’s appointment, Valaris entered into an agreement with Luminus under which Luminus agreed to, among other things, maintain certain minimum ownership levels in order to retain its board seat and to support the company’s director slate at the 2020 AGM.

It is worth reminding that Luminus has decided to call a meeting of Valaris shareholders in December 2019 with an intention to nominate new directors to the board amid ‘grave concerns’ about the company’s performance.

At the start of January, Valaris received a $200 million payment following the conclusion of arbitration proceedings with Samsung Heavy and has secured new contracts for its rig fleet, adding $100 million to its contract backlog.

But January was not all positive for the company since environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion organization occupied a Valaris-owned jack-up rig located in Dundee harbor contracted by Shell.

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