Chevron to Sell Non-Core Assets

SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Chevron Corp. is continuing to sell non-core assets and reposition its business toward high-growth chemicals and specialty products. That fact is a major reason why Chevron's 2012 fiscal third-quarter earnings dropped significantly compared to the same time last year, said John Watson, chairman and CEO.

Company leaders, however, did not relay what specific assets it has sold or what it plans to sell in the future during its earnings call today.

Companywide, Chevron earned $5.3 billion for its latest quarter ended Sept. 30, vs. a $7.8 billion profit in its 2011 third quarter.

Pat Yarrington, Chevron's vice president and chief financial officer, noted that last year was a record year for the oil company, and such great results can't be expected every quarter and every year.

Fluctuating foreign exchange rates were another factor leading to declining earnings, according to Yarrington.

As for Chevron's U.S. downstream division, parent to its convenience store network, Chevron achieved a net profit of $456 million in the third quarter, compared to a $704 million gain in the same timeframe last year.

"2012 is all about progress and we are doing well," Yarrington said on today's earnings call.

Chevron continues to hold a large net cash position of $9 billion. Many Wall Street analysts have noted that with such poor interest rates available for cash today, Chevron would only hold such a large net cash position in an effort to acquire another company.

Hess Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. have been named as potential acquisition targets. However, Chevron did not discuss any potential acquisitions today, nor was it questioned by analysts regarding the topic during the earnings call, which exceeded one hour this morning.

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