Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), on Monday, revealed its plan to sell off its retail gasoline, energy marketing and energy trading businesses amid pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to split the oil and gas company. Elliott is the third largest shareholder of Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) – with 4 percent stake in the company. John Hess, CEO of the $23 billion company, also named six new directors.
Hess also announced ts plans to raise its annual dividend from the current 40 cents to $1, starting July this year. The company will also repurchase $4 billion of its stock. John Hess unveiled various plans to improve the company’s operations. However, Mr. Hess didn’t disclose how much the company expects to raise from the sale proceeds.
Elliott Management waged a public fight in January, demanding that Hess breaks up its U.S. onshore assets and sell its retail operations. The hedge fund also nominated five candidates for the company board in an attempt to force Hess to become more disciplined about its expenditures and operations. Later, another hedge fund – Relational Investors – joined Elliott. However, John Hess rejected all of Elliott’s proposed board members, saying that the hedge fund’s recommendations out-rightly ignored tax consequences and credit risks.
Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) has already announced plans to sell off its network of oil terminals, and the company also said it is looking to dispose its downstream assets. Hess Corp. also announced that t will sell its holdings in Thailand and Indonesia. Some of the proceeds will be used to raise the dividends, and the remaining funds will be used to pay off short-term debts. As of December 31, Hess Corp had $787 million short-term debts.
Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) runs retail gasoline stations and terminals located on the U.S. East Coast, most of them also include convenience stores. The energy marketing division sells natural gas, petroleum products and electricity to industrial and commercial businesses. The marketing operations earned profits of $209 million in 2012, while Hess Corp’s net income was $2.25 billion last year. New York-based Hetco is the company’s energy trading unit – It’s a joint venture between Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) and two Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) traders. Hess owns 50 percent in the joint venture.
Most importantly, Hess appointed six new directors to its board, and none of them were from the list recommended by Elliott. The newly appointed directors include James Quigley, former CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP; John Krenicki Jr., former chief of GE Energy and William Schrader, ex-chief operating officer of TNK-BP.
Mr. John Hess told investors that he hasn’t heard from Elliott after the public attack of Hess Corp’s management, and hasn’t heard from Relational Investors since last year.
Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) shares were up 3.44 percent to $68.82 at 11:15 AM EST.