UPDATE 1-National Oilwell to spin off equipment distribution business
* Distribution business to be a publicly traded company
* National Oilwell says spin-off does not need shareholder approval
* Shares up 3 pct premarket
Sept 24 (Reuters) - National Oilwell Varco Inc, the largest U.S. oilfield equipment provider, said it planned to spin off its oilfield production equipment distribution business into a new publicly traded company.
National Oilwell shares were up about 3 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday.
The company expanded its distribution business last year by acquiring Schlumberger NV's Wilson Supply distribution unit and equipment distributor CE Franklin, in which Schlumberger held a 56 percent stake.
"We believe the company's distribution business now has the market size and scale to operate as a standalone...distribution company," National Oilwell Chief Executive Pete Miller said in a statement.
The company's distribution business accounted for about 85 percent of its distribution and transmission unit revenue for the six months ended June 30.
The distribution and transmission business accounted for about 20 percent of the company's revenue of $20.04 billion in 2012.
National Oilwell gets about half of its revenue from rig technology, which helps prepare oil and gas wells for production. The company also provides petroleum services and supplies.
National Oilwell said the spin-off, expected to be completed in the first half of 2014, did not require shareholder approval.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC is acting as the financial adviser to the company and Locke Lord LLP is its legal adviser.
National Oilwell shares closed at $78.50 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.