Freeport McMoRan Strategic Thoughts
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On Freeport McMoRan's (NYSE: FCX) potential selloff of its oil and gas assets. Freeport has reduced its board size from 16 down to nine and is undertaking a review of strategic alternatives for its oil and gas business, following constructive discussions with many of its largest shareholders (read: Carl Icahn).
The strategic review of its oil and gas business will, hopefully, enhance value to FCX shareholders and achieve self-funding of the oil and gas business from its cash flows and resources.
FM O&G’s high quality asset base, substantial underutilized Deepwater Gulf of Mexico infrastructure, large inventory of low risk development opportunities and talented and experienced personnel and management team provide alternatives to generate value. The previously announced potential public offering of a minority interest in FCX’s oil and gas business remains an alternative for future consideration, the timing of which is subject to market conditions.
Other alternatives currently under consideration include a spinoff of FCX’s oil and gas business to its shareholders, joint venture arrangements and further spending reductions. The oil and gas strategic review is being undertaken with an objective of improving FCX’s financial position and enhancing long-term value for its shareholders.
FCX’s strategy will focus on its global leading position in the copper industry. Near-term, this strategy will involve managing its production activities, spending on capital projects and operations, and the administration of its business to enhance cash flows and protect liquidity.
While taking prudent near-term steps responsive to the currently weak market conditions, FCX remains confident about the longer term outlook for copper prices based on the global demand and supply fundamentals. A primary objective will be a significant reduction over time of FCX’s current debt level. With its established reserves and large-scale current production base, its significant portfolio of undeveloped resources, and its global organization of highly qualified dedicated workers and management, FCX is well positioned to build value for its shareholders.