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Transocean to boost status as Swiss company

Transocean, a company at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is to be included in the index of top 20 shares traded on the Swiss stock exchange.

The Zug-based firm, with operational headquarters in Texas, will be admitted to the blue-chip Swiss Market Index (SMI) at the end of June, replacing Swiss Life Holding on the list of the biggest, most actively traded companies on the Zurich exchange.

Transocean has already been represented on the broader Swiss Performance Index (SPI) since the end of April. That month one of its 140 oil rigs exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, touching off an oil slick now nearly half the size of Switzerland.

After June 21, the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor will be traded as part of the SMI and the Swiss Leader Index (SLI) as well.

The Swiss exchange confirmed on Thursday that the procedure for integrating the shares into the indices was unveiled about a week before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster on April 20. Stock market officials said the company was on a fast track because it had met criteria for market capitalisation and trading volume.

The SMI and SLI are typically revised every July for changes to take place in mid-September. Transocean is still subject to a review process, as are all other firms. The company’s shares also trade on the New York Stock Exchange with a capitalisation worth nearly $27 billion (SFr31 billion).

Transocean’s shares have taken a serious beating since the disaster. After reaching a high of SFr101.10, share prices plummeted to SFr56 at the close of trading on Wednesday.

The US group moved its headquarters from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland in 2008. Having a greater presence on the Swiss exchange will enable the company to strengthen its status as a Swiss company. It employs 18,000 people worldwide - about two dozen in Switzerland - and turnover reached $11.6 billion in 2009.

BP was operating Transocean’s rig when the accident occurred.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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