Hess Will Not Spin Off Its Retail Division

NEW YORK – Hess Corp. will continue to reshape its organization by selling off assets, Chairman and CEO John B. Hess noted today during the company's third-quarter earnings call.

Thus far this year, the chief executive noted that asset sales have totaled $2.4 billion, and the company does not expect to complete shedding its assets until the end of 2013.

Hess Corp., however, has no plans to spin off its retail assets, something Murphy Oil Corp. announced it would do last month in an effort to "unlock value."

"We will only focus on selling off [exploration and production] assets," Hess said during the call.

The CEO did not discuss the possibility of being acquired by another company. As CSNews Online previously reported, Chevron Corp. has been cited by several media outlets as a possible acquirer of the New York City-based company.

But possibly in the cards is a spinoff of Hess Corp.'s midstream assets into a master limited partnership initial public offering. A large number of industry players have already done so, including Susser Holdings Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Delek US Holdings Inc., which spun off Delek Logistics Partners today.

"There are some assets we will consider [turning into an MLP]," Hess affirmed. "But it is not our priority right now."

As for its third-quarter earnings, Hess Corp. suffered a 7-percent decrease in sales at its convenience store division. The c-store sales decline was due to a continuing difficult economy, according to company executives.

C-store sales for Hess Corp.'s latest quarter, ended Sept. 30, came in at $295 million vs. $316 million during the same timeframe last year.

The company had 1,361 c-stores at the end of its Q3 -- three more than its total as of Sept. 30, 2011.

As for Hurricane Sandy, Hess reported that 177 of the company's 186 gas stations located in the affected area are currently operating. Although 80 percent of gas stations in the New York Tri-State area are not operating overall, Hess Corp. put in place many generators in advance of the storm.

"Many of our stations have lines that are three hours long," Hess relayed.

Companywide, Hess Corp. earned $557 million in its 2012 fiscal third quarter, compared to a $298 million profit for its 2011 third quarter. Net cash increased to $1.862 billion, compared with $1.022 billion for the same time last year.

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