Breakingviews

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.

Oil’s reckoning invites a U.S. mega-deal

December 10, 2015

Conoco, Chevron, Kinder Morgan and the state of Alaska are modifying capital strategies amid another lurch down in crude prices. If these conditions persist, something like Shell’s $70 bln takeover of BG should look appealing. Occidental and Anadarko could make tempting targets.

Climate will supplant shale as top energy disruptor

November 27, 2015

The world’s politicians may be about to get serious on cutting greenhouse gases at the U.N. Paris confab. And shareholders are pushing Big Oil to disclose global warming risks. The consequences for the industry will be longer lasting than the recent oil production revolution.

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.