Los Angeles Business Journal

Occidental Core Earnings Fall

By Howard Fine Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Occidental Petroleum Corp. on Tuesday said its second quarter profit was unchanged at $1.3 billion, or $1.64 a share. The Westwood oil giant said increased oil production in California and Texas was offset by lower global oil prices.

But the more closely watched core earnings, which exclude certain one-time charges and events, fell 4 percent from a year earlier to $1.27 billion, or $1.58 per share. Analysts polled by Bloomberg News had been expecting core earnings of $1.60 per share.

Investors reacted to the core earnings miss by sending Occidental shares down more than 2 percent to close Tuesday at $88.32 a share.

In a teleconference call with analysts following the earnings release, Occidental Chief Executive Stephen Chazen said the company was running ahead of schedule in reducing operating costs in the United States, which has helped boost domestic profits.

He said the company expects “much better” production levels in California in particular over the next 12 months. Production fell last year due to declining oil field yields and permitting delays.

Chazen also said he is consulting with Occidental’s board on options to break up the company in an effort to boost shareholder value. Options under consideration include splitting off or selling operations in the Middle East and spinning off California production. He said he hoped the breakup process would be complete before he is required to step down as chief executive at the end of 2014.