Hess bonds seesaw after company overhaul announced

Mon Mar 4, 2013 3:02pm EST

March 4 (IFR) - Hess Corp bonds were slightly tighter on Monday versus last week's close, in a day of heavy and volatile trading after the oil and gas company announced it would become a pure exploration and production concern, and get rid of its retail, energy marketing and energy trading businesses.

The 5.6% February 2041s were at 199, tighter than Friday's 206 close, after trading in a wide range of 191 to 216 throughout the Monday session. Shares in Hess meanwhile were up 4% in mid-afternoon at US$69.18.

Hess, with a market capitalization of about US$23bn, will focus on exploration and production from oil and gas fields in the United States, Norway, Malaysia and Ghana after hiving off trading arm Hetco, power plants and more than 1,300 gas stations.

The global giant, which is headquartered in New York City, said it anticipated a five-year compound average annual production growth rate of 5%-8%, based off of pro forma 2012 production, with aggregate mid-teens production growth between pro forma 2012 and 2014, while increasing returns to shareholders.

The changes to the business were announced following pressure from hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, the third-largest shareholder of Hess, which in January outlined a series of proposals for revamping the corporation, including changes to the board and the selling of assets.

Elliott on Monday said that the changes Hess announced were "incomplete" and lacking in accountability.

"While motivated by Elliott's plan, Hess's proposal falls dramatically short of what is needed," the hedge fund said in a statement.

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