UPDATE 1-Swiss court blocks Transocean payout to investors

* Transocean weighs appeal to Swiss Supreme Court

* Will examine payout to shareholders via different avenue

* Shares down 0.7 pct in after-hours trading in New York

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 9 (BestGrowthStock) – A Swiss court upheld a
regulator’s decision to block Transocean Ltd’s (RIG.N: )
(RIGN.VX: ) planned $1 billion payout to shareholders, leaving
the company either to appeal or try to pay dividends in a
different way.

New York-traded shares of the Zug, Switzerland-based
company fell 0.7 percent to $70.80 in after-hours trading.

Transocean had planned to make its first regular
distribution to shareholders in eight years, but the Zug
Commercial Register rejected the plan in August due to pending
litigation related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP Plc (BP.L: ) used the now-sunken Transocean Deepwater
Horizon to drill the well that blew out in April, killing 11
people and causing the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

Transocean said it was considering whether to appeal the
decision by the Administrative Court of the Canton of Zug to
the Swiss Federal Supreme Court following a review of the
court’s reasons for its ruling.

“If Transocean does not appeal, the court decision will
likely prevent Transocean from paying the first of all
subsequent installments of the cash distribution,” the company
said in a statement.

But Chief Executive Steven Newman said last month that
Transocean may consider a different avenue of dividend payment
in early 2011 once Swiss tax law changes to allow for it.

The four distributions planned for this year and next would
have been through a reduction in the par value of Transocean’s
stock, now 15 Swiss francs, which would allow shareholders to
avoid 35 percent Swiss withholding tax. [ID:nN16225049]

In early 2009, Transocean moved its headquarters and
corporate home to Switzerland from Houston and the Cayman
Islands, respectively, to ensure a stable tax regime and get
closer to its many customers in the Eastern Hemisphere.
(Reporting by Braden Reddall, editing by Matthew Lewis)

UPDATE 1-Swiss court blocks Transocean payout to investors