Exxon Mobil May Sell Japanese Refining Stake For $3.9B
Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), the largest U.S. oil company, is reportedly in talks to sell part of its 50% interest in TonenGeneral Sekiyu back to Japan's TonenGeneral. The deal could be worth up to $3.9 billion and could be announced as early as Monday, Reuters reported, citing four unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter.
The U.S. oil giant would retain a 20% interest in the business, but would also be all but absent from Japan. Dow component Exxon Mobil previously announced plans to sell non-essential international refining and other downstream assets in an effort to boost its cash holdings so that it could focus on increasing oil exploration and production in other global markets.
Exxon and TonenGeneral aim to complete the deal around summer, the sources told Reuters. Texas-based Exxon will also part with its 50% interest in Kyokuto Petroleum Industries, another refining venture.
Integrated oil majors are struggling with suppressed refining margins, which could spur further asset sales. Exxon rival Chevron (NYSE: CVX) cited weak refining margins as one reason the company's fourth-quarter results missed Wall Street estimates and in 2011, Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), the third-largest U.S. oil company, announced spin offs of their downstream operations.
Exxon reports fourth-quarter results on Tuesday Jan. 31.
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