Glencore can’t delay with $2 bln agri-sale

November 17, 2015

The debt-laden commodities trader is slimming down in agriculture. But two months into the disposal process, one potential buyer says he thinks the business is “not really on the market”. With copper prices hitting a fresh six-year low, Glencore can’t afford to drag its feet.

Exxon investors may rue climate-risk indifference

By Breakingviews Columnists
November 6, 2015

The oil major’s shares barely budged on news New York is investigating whether the company misled owners about global warming. The probe adds legal teeth to the carbon-bubble debate and may spread to rivals. Shareholders seem more worried about oil prices. That looks shortsighted.

Shale drillers can do little more with any less

November 5, 2015

Apache joined a handful of U.S. companies that have raised production forecasts in recent days, despite sharp reductions in investment. Improved efficiency and lower costs are keeping volumes buoyant. Another big drop in the price of oil, however, would test their resolve.

Exxon pumps up position in world of cheap oil

October 30, 2015

The $340 bln energy giant is standing firm despite $50-a-barrel crude, avoiding the kind of writedowns and job cuts that tarnished results at Shell and Chevron. An iron-clad balance sheet and strong cash flow leave Exxon primed to acquire assets as weaker producers falter.

Petrobras should be considered too big to fail

October 29, 2015

The scandal-plagued Brazilian oil giant is hobbled by rising debt with bond yields pricing in a high degree of distress. A default does not look imminent, however, and the government has means and motive to keep the group afloat. Petrobras is probably a good fixed-income bet.

Southern’s $12 bln deal could find true north

August 24, 2015

The hefty 38 pct premium it’s paying for AGL looks rich for the utility sector. Though Southern isn’t giving a synergy figure, hacking out over 6 percent of costs would help justify the price. Previous mergers like Duke’s acquisition of Progress at least suggest it’s achievable.

Mega-rejections signal M&A’s Taylor Swift moment

June 22, 2015

U.S. health insurer Cigna brushed off a $54 bln takeover bid from Anthem while pipeline operator Williams spurned Energy Transfer’s $53 bln approach. Meantime, the 25-year-old pop idol forced Apple to pay up for music. In a hot market like this, love won’t be unrequited forever.

Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

April 8, 2015

The oil major is offering a fat 50 pct premium for its UK rival. But the share price was depressed and the synergies are attractive. The deal could prove a smart and opportunistic way to boost growth via deepwater assets and liquid natural gas – provided Shell keeps costs down.

Shareholders give Exxon the benefit of the doubt

February 2, 2015

The oil major is keeping mum on spending plans even as rivals cut back. And it only beat Q4 estimates thanks to tax and legal breaks. Unlike Chevron, though, Exxon is still buying back stock, if less than before. Such relative resilience appeals to investors, but might not last.

Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

January 2, 2015

The sharp drop in the price of Brent might make it harder to get deals done in the short term. But if the downturn persists, financial distress will put some small players in play. Larger, more defensive mergers, designed to create value by sharing costs, are also possible.