Marathon Splits Into Two Independent Companies

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Marathon Splits Into Two Independent Companies

By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News - 02/07/2011

Improving market conditions make the timing right to spin off its downstream operations

“We are creating two very strong, focused energy corporations.” Marathon president and CEO Clarence P. Cazalot Jr.

Marathon Oil Corp. is moving ahead with plans to spin off its .downstream business, effectively splitting into two independent companies. The move, which Marathon has been evaluating for some time, will become effective June 30.

Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) will continue on as a global upstream company, while Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) will become the fifth largest U.S. refiner with a top-tier downstream portfolio of holdings primarily located in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Southeast regions of the country. MPC will be headquartered in Findlay, Ohio.

In a conference call/webcast last month, Marathon president and CEO Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. said the company has said from early 2009 that while it planned to go forward as one integrated company; it was not ruling out exploring the option of splitting into two companies. And now is the right time to exercise that option, explained Cazalot noting improving market conditions over the past two years make the move possible.

Marathon sees several benefits from the transaction. Cazalot said that each company would have the ability to make business and operational decisions in its own best interest, and have the ability to allocate funds and resources toward its own strategic priorities. In addition, functioning as two separate companies will allow MRO and MPC to be more transparent and have an improved investor focus. Furthermore, MRO and MPC will have the capability to attract and retain individual talent with more focused business models, he said.

“We are creating two very strong, focused energy corporations,” he added. Among other things, MRO will be characterized by a substantial, geographically diverse oil and gas portfolio, a stable base with low risk defined growth, and safe and reliable operations. And MPC is very strong across the full downstream value chain, is well positioned geographically and is consistently a top performer on an operating income per barrel basis, Cazalot said.