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Transocean files last appeal on Swiss dividend freeze

Offshore drilling group Transocean said Monday that it had filed an appeal with Switzerland’s supreme court in an attempt to unlock dividend payments to its shareholders.

The move by the owner of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil rig came about six weeks after a Swiss administrative tribunal upheld a freeze imposed by a local trade registry because of lawsuits filed against the company in the United States.

“Transocean Ltd today announced it has filed an appeal with the Swiss federal supreme court against a December 2010 decision of the administrative court of the canton of Zug,” the company said in a statement.

The trade office in Zug, where Transocean is registered, had withheld registration of the distribution of about one billion dollars, which was endorsed by shareholders in May 2010.

“Without effective distribution… Transocean will not be able to proceed with the payment of the first or any subsequent instalment of its cash distribution to shareholders,” the company added.

Transocean, which owns the BP-leased offshore rig behind the worst oil spill in US history last year, said in a company filing last August that close to 250 lawsuits or claims have been filed against it in US state or federal courts.