HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp’s plan to accelerate asset sales, a way of delivering needed cash to finance shareholder returns and major projects, is getting off to a slow start as oil companies pull back on big deals.
On Friday, the largest U.S. oil company is expected to report a 79-cents-a-share profit, down from 92 cents a year earlier, according to data provider Refinitiv. With little cash from asset sales and a third straight quarter of weaker year-over-year earnings, Exxon cannot resume share buybacks sought by investors this year, said analysts.
Chief - Executive - Darren - Woods - Year
Chief Executive Darren Woods this year set a target of raising $15 billion by trimming its portfolio through 2021, above the average $3.3 billion a year rate between 2017 and 2013. The sales could include more oil-producing properties, compared with prior deals mostly in refining and marketing, he said.
But those goals are proving difficult. In its first quarter, proceeds from sales were just $107 million, the lowest in at least 11 quarters, and analysts expect the second quarter to come in at a similar level. Exxon last quarter agreed to sell a U.S. Gulf of Mexico property for $200 million.
Cash - Flow - Buybacks - People - Jennifer
“There’s not enough cash flow for buybacks, which is what people want to see,” said Jennifer Rowland, analyst at Edward Jones, who has a “hold” rating on Exxon. Exxon may have to use debt to help fund its shareholder dividend, she said.
A package of offshore Gulf of Mexico oilfields that Exxon put on the market last autumn has languished, said analysts. More recently, the company has begun to market offshore properties in Nigeria and Norway, according to analysts and people familiar with the matter. Any one could raise several billion dollars in a sale, the people said.
Stephen - Greenlee - Divestitures - President - Exxon
Stephen Greenlee, who oversees divestitures as president of Exxon’s Upstream...
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