* Seeks Duvernay joint venture
* Q3 loss $0.05 per share vs loss $0.71 per share
* Shares down 2.5 pct
By Scott Haggett and Swetha Gopinath
CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 6 Talisman Energy Inc
said it had no immediate plans to split itself in two
despite pressure from activist shareholders looking to boost
returns from the restructuring Canadian oil company.
Talisman, which reported a narrower third-quarter loss on
Wednesday, said it had examined the idea of separating its
operations in the Americas and Asia, an idea touted by some
investors for years, but concluded the time is not right for the
"While we do see the benefit of two highly focused
companies, splitting the company is only valid if the two
companies that arise from the split are strong and viable
stand-alone entities" Hal Kvisle, the company's chief executive,
said on a conference call. "A split, or a variation like a
spinout of one part of our business, would be challenging to
execute today, given a number of constraints associated with our
credit ratings, North Sea obligations, and other tax, legal, and
Talisman, a chronic underperformer now restructuring its
operations in order to lower costs and boost its share price,
has been in the spotlight since early October, when activist
investor Carl Icahn revealed he'd taken a 6 percent stake in the
Kvisle said the company has met with Icahn and other
activist shareholders over the past year and is sticking with
its plan to restructure operations by focusing on the Americas
and Asia, selling its Norwegian North Sea assets and limiting
the amount it spends on its UK North Sea properties.
"We're intrigued that people see Talisman as an interesting
situation in that way, but we do caution people that this is not
an instantaneous 90-day turnaround," he said. "This is a pretty
capital-intensive industry and it takes some time to move the
corporation and move the needle, and we're just discussing those
things with them."
SEEKS DUVERNAY PARTNER
Talisman also said it has revisited plans to sell its
properties in the northern portion of the Duvernay shale field
in central Alberta after a search for a buyer came up short.
"We saw a number of big players in that north Duvernay area
that we expected might want to acquire our position 100
percent," Kvisle said. "Most of the foreign players, a lot of
them are Asians, but also some Europeans, they are very
interested in the Duvernay, but they don't have the capability
to operate there, and they recognize they don't, so we've had
quite a bit of discussions around the north Duvernay, which is
not what we were looking for at the time. We were looking for an
Talisman had planned to use proceeds from the sale to fund
development of its holdings in the southern portion of the
field. However it now wants to find a joint-venture partner
willing to take a stake in all its Duvernay properties and help
fund high drilling costs in the promising region.
Talisman reported a smaller quarterly net loss compared with
the year-earlier quarter, when it took a $1.04 billion
The company's net loss narrowed to $54 million, or 5 cents
per share, in the third quarter from a loss of $731 million, or
71 cents per share, a year earlier.
Lower North American gas prices and hedging losses weighed
on the results, but the impact was partially offset by increased
output and higher prices of natural gas liquids and oil.
Full-year liquids production in North America is expected to
come in at the top end of its outlook at 35,000 barrels per day.
Talisman shares were down 32 Canadian cents to C$12.50 by
early afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.