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    Hornbeck Offshore to acquire Superior Achiever

    Vessel & ROV News // January 10, 2008

    Hornbeck Offshore Services in the US has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Superior Offshore International to acquire Superior Achiever, a T-22 class DP3 new generation multi-purpose support vessel and related owner-furnished equipment.

    Superior Acheiver is currently under construction at Merwede Shipyard in Holland with an anticipated delivery in the fourth quarter of 2008.

    Merwede Shipyard is also building for Hornbeck the HOS Iron Horse, a T-22 class DP-3 MPSV of the same design, with an expected fourth quarter 2009 delivery.

    With the pending acquisition of the Superior Achiever, the company's MPSV programme now consists of four vessels. The closing with Superior is subject to customary conditions, including third party consents, and is expected to occur on or before January 21, 2008.

    Hornbeck has also agreed to a five-year time charter with Superior for the Superior Achiever or another acceptable vessel at a day rate commensurate with the company's target investment parameters.

    Superior will have the option to terminate the charter with 90-days' advance notice at the end of each sequential six-month period within the term. The agreement also provides that Hornbeck and Superior will agree to negotiate in good faith toward the establishment of a non-exclusive joint marketing and co-operation agreement and that the parties will endeavour to seek mutually beneficial business opportunities utilizing their complementary resources.

    Hornbeck has also announced plans to expand its current offshore supply vessel newbuild programme. The company has contracted for the construction of two additional proprietary 240 ED class OSVs with Atlantic Marine in Jacksonville, Florida, which is the same US shipyard that is currently building four identical sister vessels for Hornbeck. The two new vessels are due to be delivered in 2010.

    With these newbuilds, the company's fourth OSV newbuild programme now consists of vessel construction contracts with three domestic shipyards to build 16 DP-2 vessels comprised of six proprietary 240 ED class OSVs, nine proprietary 250 EDF class OSVs and one 285 class new generation OSV.

    In addition, the company has agreed to purchase a leasehold interest in a parcel of improved real estate adjacent to HOS Port, its existing shore-base facility located in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The new facility lease has close to seven years remaining on its initial term, with four additional five-year renewal periods. The acquisition of this additional shore base will support Hornbeck's rapidly expanding operations in the Gulf of Mexico's largest deepwater offshore port and will provide more lay-down area in support of its growing MPSV programme.

    The combined acreage of the two adjoining properties will be approximately 60 acres, more than double the present size of HOS Port. The facility, currently known as the Rowan Base, will also increase the company's shore base lifting capacity by two cranes, and will extend its waterfront bulkhead by over 1,000 additional feet to nearly 3,000ft.

    The company plans to fund the incremental expected cost of these transactions of approximately US$190 million in the aggregate, along with its previously announced newbuild and conversion programs, from projected cash flows from operations and an expanded revolving credit facility.

    In conjunction with these announcements, Hornbeck is in the process of increasing its revolving credit facility with its existing bank group to a borrowing base of at least US$200 million, up from US$100 million.

    The credit facility, which is presently undrawn, has a feature that allows for a maximum available borrowing base of US$250 million.

     

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