France's Bourbon in $1.5 bn vessel deal with China's ICBC

French oil and gas marine services group Bourbon announced Tuesday it has signed a sale-and-lease contract for 51 vessels worth up to $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) with China's ICBC Financial Leasing.

Twenty-four of the vessels are in operation and 27 of them are under construction and will be delivered within 14 months.

ICBC Financial Leasing is a unit of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the nation's biggest lender by assets, that leases ships and aircraft.

The agreement is in line with a restructuring programme announced by Bourbon last month and which is aimed at reducing the group's debt.

In total, Bourbon plans to divest up to 85 vessels to raise around $2.5 billion.