French geosciences giant CGG has filed for bankruptcy as part of financial restructuring process to reduce its $3 billion debt.
"CGG has begun legal processes to implement a comprehensive pre-arranged restructuring, with the opening of a safeguard proceeding in France and Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 filings in the US," said a statement from the company.
CGG has executed the legally binding agreements in support of the terms of the agreement-in-principle with key financial creditors announced earlier this month.
"CGG will continue normal business operations during this process, and the restructuring transactions will not affect relationships with our clients, business partners, vendors or employees," Chief Executive Jean-Georges Malcor said in a statement.
"We expect that our financial restructuring can move forward quickly to strengthen our balance sheet and to position the company well for the future," he added
Reuters said that with debt in excess of $3 billion, the restructuring could be one of the biggest France has seen in years. It calls for unsecured debt to be converted to equity, maturities on secured debt to be extended and $500 million in new money to be raised.
The company, which specialises in geo-seismic surveys and is listed in Paris and New York, struggled to keep up with payments on its debt as the big oil groups that
use its services proved reluctant to lift exploration spending despite rising oil prices.