Kerr-McGee mulling chemicals sale, hires bank
Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:58 AM ET
HOUSTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Oil and gas company Kerr-McGee on Wednesday said it was considering selling its chemicals business and had hired an investment bank to help it explore the possibility.
Kerr-McGee also raised its first-quarter forecast for the chemical unit's operating profit by about 20 percent to between $25 million and $27 million.
Earlier this month, weekly business publication Barron's said that selling or spinning off the business could be worth up to $2 billion for the company.
Rick Buterbaugh, vice president for investor relations, told a conference call the company has "engaged an investment bank to help review its options" for the chemical unit, which is the world's No. 3 producer and marketer of titanium dioxide.
He did not name the bank that Kerr-McGee had hired.
Titanium dioxide is an inorganic white pigment used in paint, coatings, plastics, paper and other products.
Billionaire financier Carl Icahn and one of his funds each filed notice last week under antitrust laws that they may seek to acquire up to $1 billion in Kerr-McGee stock, or as much as 9 percent of the outstanding shares.
Shares in Kerr-McGee rose $2.24, or 3 percent, to $76.44 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares are up more than 30 percent since the start of the year.
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