WILM. WILHELMSEN CHIEF DENIES RESIGNATION RUMORS

WILM. WILHELMSEN CHIEF DENIES RESIGNATION RUMORS

Ivar Loevald, administrative director of Wilh. Wilhelmsen Ltd., denies that he is considering resigning in the wake of continued poor financial results in one of the world's largest liner shipping and offshore companies.

Mr. Loevald was quoted last week as saying that his job could be on the line as part of a shake-up at the top at Wilh. Wilhelmsen. However, he later stated that neither he nor the company is re-evaluating his position.Mr. Loevald took the reins of Wilh. Wilhelmsen in 1979. Low oil prices have hit the company hard in recent years, and most of the company's financial trouble is rooted in its drilling rig activities.

Wilh. Wilhelmsen is saddled with a debt load approaching $422 million. The company's agreement with its creditors has it paying interest on the full amount, but it has scheduled payments against only 40 percent of the principal. This 30-month agreement expires at the end of this year.

Drilling rig rates will have to be considerably higher next year than they are now because the company will be paying full interest as well as making payments against 100 percent of the total debt.

Further negotiations with creditors seem to be the only way out of a tight situation. The company is in a bind because earnings it should be using for investment have to be put aside to meet repayment obligations. Half of the massive debt is related to the five drilling rigs owned by Wilh. Wilhelmsen.

Despite the financial difficulties, there is a degree of optimism at company headquarters. Shipping is showing more promise than it has in a long time, and Wilh. Wilhelmsen shares were trading Thursday at about $7.22 on the

Oslo Stock Exchange, their highest level this year.