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Oil rig repairer files bankruptcy, aims to end worker suits

JACKSON — Oil rig repairer Signal International of Mobile, Alabama, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company blames a downturn in oil exploration, combined with millions it could owe to Indian guest workers suing the company.

The Retirement Systems of Alabama, a public pension system that already owned a minority of the company and was a lender, has agreed to buy the company and lend it money while in bankruptcy. Signal says it has agreed to settle the Indian workers’ claims for $20 million as part of the bankruptcy.

Signal says it will keep operating shipyards in Mobile and Pascagoula, Mississippi, with about 300 employees.

In court papers filed Sunday in Delaware, Signal says it has more than $100 million in debts, but less than $50 million in assets.

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