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Occidental examining options for MLP, asset sales

BY ALISON SIDER

LOS ANGELES -- Occidental Petroleum CEO Stephen Chazen said low share prices mean the company will probably buy back shares and will take a closer look at options for selling assets or parts of the company.

"With a lower stock price, things that might not have worked before might work now. That isn' t any kind of forecast, it' s just sort of a tautology" he said.

Mr. Chazen said share buybacks are "probably in our future."

In addition, putting the company' s midstream assets into a Master Limited Partnership (MLP) would be one option that would generate cash from the sale of the units, but one that would be "fine tuning rather than a major mover."

"You just look for things that at least initially are things that move the needle a lot rather than tweaking" he said.

Other possibilities mentioned during the conference call included selling assets and splitting off parts of the company.

"But I think you don' t want to go down the path of sort of a delicatessen approach to this, where you slice a piece of baloney off and you throw it to the wolves" he said.

But on the other end of the spectrum, he said selling off the whole company is an "improbable outcome."

The company reported that profits fell by 13% to $1.36 billion. Occidental' s board said earlier this year that it is looking for a new CEO. Mr. Chazen said that he would stay on through the search but would not comment beyond that.

Dow Jones Newswires

04/25/2013

 

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