Talisman Energy Rises on Potential Asset Sales: Calgary Mover

Talisman Energy Inc., the oil and natural gas producer focused on the Americas and Southeast Asia, rose after Chief Executive Officer Hal Kvisle said it may sell North Sea assets.

Talisman gained 1.5 percent to C$12.35 at the close in Toronto. The company, based in Calgary, may expand a joint venture in the North Sea with Sinopec Group, as China Petrochemical Corp. is known, to include Talisman’s Norway assets, Kvisle said at a conference hosted by Sanford C. Bernstein in New York, which was webcast.

Kvisle, CEO since September, said in March he’s targeting as much as $3 billion from asset sales or joint ventures over 12 to 18 months. Talisman “could” split up the company and selling North Sea assets would be a first step in focusing on North America, he said. Talisman is not seeking to sell the Asia business, he said.

“Any visibility for them to reduce their exposure to the North Sea or divest that asset completely would be viewed positively by the market,” Chris Feltin, a Calgary-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. who rates the company the equivalent of a hold, said in a phone interview today. “Event-driven funds” are focused on Talisman selling assets and breaking up the company, he said.

“The Americas and Asia taken together have a lot of synergies,” Kvisle said, reaffirming his view that Talisman is stronger with the Americas and Asia together.

The company has seen “great interest” in its North Duvernay shale assets in Alberta for which it began providing information to potential buyers this month, he said. Asian buyers would want to partner with Talisman while super-majors would want to buy the property outright, he said.

Talisman sold a 49 percent stake in its U.K. unit to Sinopec for $1.5 billion last year. Lv Dapeng, a spokesman for Beijing-based Sinopec, didn’t immediately return a phone call to his office today, outside of normal business hours in China.

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