Maersk Drilling chair: Still uncertainty on layoffs following merger

Maersk Drilling’s merger with Noble will involve a review of staffing. Chair of Maersk Drilling Claus Hemmingsen cannot at present quantify the final number of layoffs but explains that both companies will see staff reductions.

Maersk Drilling-formand Claus Hemmingsen. | Photo: Casper Holmenlund Christensen/Jyllands-Posten/Ritzau Scanpix

Maersk Drilling is hard at work preparing a merger with Noble Corporation, which is expected to fall into place by mid-2022.

This will involve a review of staffing where the company is in the process of ensuring retention of key employees while at the same time looking around for places that could bring synergies – which in the end means layoffs of duplicate functions, for instance.

”Key employees and competencies are vital to both companies, which will also be the case for the continued company. It’s a basic premise. Once we enter a period of uncertainty ahead of the merger, it also means that we’re working to retain employees which are crucial to both the integration and going forward,” says Maersk Drilling Chair Claus V. Hemmingsen and explains that this process also revolves around bonus agreements.

Once we enter a period of uncertainty ahead of the merger, it also means that we’re working to retain employees which are crucial to both the integration and going forward

Claus Hemmingsen, chair, Maersk Drilling

At present, he is unable to quantify the final tally of layoffs but explains that there will be staff reductions in both companies. The vast majority will be found in Denmark because the headquarters for the new company will be located in Houston, Texas, where Noble is already based.

”That’s how it is, given that the choice fell on Houston. And that choice has something to do with investment opportunities and the investors that the company wishes to cater to,” he remarks.

Still uncertainty about layoffs

To ShippingWatch, Maersk Drilling Chief Executive Jørn Madsen previously estimated that around 80 percent of the employees in Lyngby – corresponding to around 500 personnel – were in line for dismissal. But that number isn’t fixed, says Hemmingsen.

”That was probably an early assessment, and it’s quite certain that it won’t be that number,” he says without stating a different figure.

”That’s a part of preparations underway ahead of the merger, and clearly, achieving synergies inherently entails dismissing some personnel.”

The idea behind the merger is to improve long-term growth opportunities for the company. The merger is expected to result in synergies worth USD 125m and ensure better balance.

Hemmingsen will be the company’s vice chair of the board, headed by Chair Charles M. Sledge.

At the same time, Noble Chief Executive Robert W. Eifler will lead the merged group as CEO, while Maersk Drilling CEO Jørn Madsen will withdraw from the merged company.

English edit: Christoffer Østergaard & Daniel Frank Christensen

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