Transocean Soars to 2-Month High on Spill Deal: Zurich Mover

Transocean Ltd. jumped to a two-month high in Zurich trading after the world’s biggest operator of offshore drilling rigs agreed to settle federal claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The stock rose as much as 2.9 percent to 45.89 Swiss francs, the highest intraday level since Nov. 8, and traded at 45.62 francs at 9:59 a.m. local time. That gave Transocean a market value of 16.4 billion francs ($17.8 billion).

Transocean, based in Vernier, Switzerland, will pay more than $1.4 billion, including a $400 million criminal penalty, to settle the claims, plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act and agree to five years probation, the U.S. said in a filing in federal court in New Orleans yesterday. It was the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that drilled BP Plc’s ill-fated Macondo well.

The agreement lets a “big chunk of uncertainty disappear,” Fabian Haecki, an analyst at Vontobel with a hold rating on the stock, said in a note. “It is a big relief that the total amount is slightly below the provisions” of $1.75 billion, he said.

The stock has lost more than half its value since the April 2010 explosion. Transocean’s U.S. shares surged the most in 28 months yesterday after the deal was announced.

“Transocean will be able to move past a significant portion of its Macondo-related liabilities, allowing management to focus more fully on operational execution,” Goldman Sachs said in a note to customers. “We believe this should also remove some overhang from Transocean’s stock, which has been trading at a wide discount.”

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