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Icahn: Occidental Won't Hit Target Without Asset Sale

Activist investor Carl Icahn has called on Occidental Petroleum’s management to sell assets in order to hit its divestment target following the $38-billion purchase of Anadarko, Bloomberg reports, adding that Icahn had suggested that Oxy sell its pipeline network Western Midstream Partners.

Occidental has a divestment target range of $10-15 billion, to be completed by the middle of next year. The company amassed debt of $40 billion for the takeover of Anadarko as most of the price—78 percent—was paid in cash to Anadarko’s shareholders.

Earlier this week, chief executive Vicki Hollub said she was confident that the company would be able to sell assets worth more than $15 billion in the period. The latest divestments, Hollub said, included Oxy’s pullout from a joint venture with Colombia’s Ecopetrol, which generated $1.5 billion, and a series of non-core asset sales that raised $200 million.

Despite Carl Icahn’s pessimism, Oxy has already divested assets worth $10 billion, including Anadarko’s liquefied natural gas interests in Mozambique, oil assets in other parts of Africa, and operations at home. The latest asset put up for sale is Oxy’s Greater Natural Buttes gas field in Utah, which could fetch some $190 to $240 million, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Reuters.

This, apparently, is not enough to convince Icahn that the management of Occidental Petroleum is doing their job. Following Hollub’s statement this week, the activist investor said she “clearly takes stockholders and the market for fools” with a promise for higher dividends and also higher revenues.

Occidental reported a quarterly loss in the first quarter following the absorption of Anadarko and slashed its spending plans for 2020 to $5.3-5.5 billion from the $9 billion budgeted for 2019. Next year, Icahn plans to wage a proxy war on Occidental’s board and management to prevent other acquisitions of this size, which, according to him, threaten Occidental’s long-term prospects.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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