(Corrects company name in lead paragraph to China Southern Power Grid)
By Denny Thomas and Charlie Zhu
HONG KONG, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp has agreed to sell its Hong Kong power business for $3.4 billion to CLP Holdings and state-owned China Southern Power Grid, helping the U.S. oil major to raise funds to plough back money into its core operations.
Many integrated global oil companies are keen to control spending and to put cash in the pockets of investors through asset sales, share buybacks or dividends as analysts grumble about lagging stock prices.
They have also struggled to boost production and in recent years have spent heavily on new projects. In the first nine months of this year, Exxon alone spent $33 billion.
CLP, backed by Hong Kong’s wealthy Kadoorie family, agreed to buy half of Exxon’s 60 percent stake in Hong Kong utility Castle Peak Co Ltd for HK$12 billion ($1.6 billion), with CSG agreeing to buy the other 30 percent.
CSG confirmed the planned purchase in a separate statement, but did not disclose how much it plans to pay for the stake. A person close to the transaction told Reuters that CSG will also pay HK$12 billion.
Exxon, the world’s biggest oil company by market value, is also selling its 51 percent stake in Hong Kong Pumped Storage Development Co for HK$2 billion to CLP. ($1 = 7.7524 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Denny Thomas and Charlie Zhu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)