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Conoco Expanding Asset Sales

Source: Reuters 3/23/2011, Location: North America

ConocoPhillips said it will expand its planned sales of older, higher-cost assets by as much as $10 billion over the next two years, with proceeds earmarked to buy back stock.

The bigger sales helped boost the shares of the third-largest U.S. oil company by almost 2 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

Conoco is executing a plan, announced in late 2009 and financed by asset sales, to increase returns for investors through debt reduction, stock buybacks and double-digit increases in dividends.

"They are looking to sell more assets and buy back more shares, which is a positive," Allen Good, oil analyst at Morningstar, said. "They set these plans several years ago and they are sticking to them and expanding them."

The oil company initially planned to sell $10 billion assets, but had already collected $7 billion by the end of 2010. Conoco said on Wednesday it plans to market an additional $5 billion to $10 billion in oil and gas properties on top of the $7 billion it already sold.

Conoco's board approved a $10 billion share repurchase plan in February, but in a meeting with analysts on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva said there was an opportunity to "really ramp up" share repurchases.

Annual spending will rise as high as $15 billion over the next several years as Conoco invests in exploration and production projects, including Asia Pacific liquefied natural gas in Australia, oil sands in Canada and shale drilling in South Texas.

Capital expenditures this year are forecast at $13.5 billion.

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Related Categories: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Industrial Development  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 

Related Articles: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 


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