Williams plans to go forward on its own after ETE deal collapse

Mon Aug 1, 2016 5:32pm EDT
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NEW YORK Aug 1 (Reuters) - Pipeline company Williams Cos Inc on Monday laid out plans to move forward as a standalone company and invest $1.7 billion in its master limited partnership, Williams Partners, in the wake of the breakup of its more than $20 billion takeover by rival Energy Transfer Equity LP in June.

"I don't think there's anybody positioned the way Williams is right now, very narrowly focused on the concept of growing natural gas volumes," Chief Executive Alan Armstrong said in an interview, arguing that there is currently a wave of capital investment by industrial companies that is dependent on natural gas.

"I really think we've got ourselves in a real sweet spot and are very well positioned for the next three or four years."

Williams' shares have fallen nearly 60 percent over the last year as the company fought unsuccessfully to force rival Energy Transfer Equity to close its agreed upon purchase of Williams. Shortly following the deal's collapse, nearly half of Williams' board resigned after failing to oust CEO Armstrong.

Williams posted a second quarter loss, with results weighed down by a one-time charge related to the upcoming sale of its Canadian operations. It said it will slash its dividend by more than two-thirds to help pay for the reinvestment in Williams Partners.

The company also unveiled a distribution reinvestment plan which will allow Williams and other investors in Williams Partners to forego payouts from the partnership in exchange for new shares. (Reporting by Michael Erman and Mike Stone)