UPDATE 1-Talisman Energy says has no immediate plans to split in two

Wed Nov 6, 2013 2:17pm EST
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* Seeks Duvernay joint venture

* Q3 loss $0.05 per share vs loss $0.71 per share

* Shares down 2.5 pct

By Scott Haggett and Swetha Gopinath

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc said it had no immediate plans to split itself in two despite pressure from activist shareholders looking to boost returns from the restructuring Canadian oil company.

Talisman, which reported a narrower third-quarter loss on Wednesday, said it had examined the idea of separating its operations in the Americas and Asia, an idea touted by some investors for years, but concluded the time is not right for the move.

"While we do see the benefit of two highly focused companies, splitting the company is only valid if the two companies that arise from the split are strong and viable stand-alone entities" Hal Kvisle, the company's chief executive, said on a conference call. "A split, or a variation like a spinout of one part of our business, would be challenging to execute today, given a number of constraints associated with our credit ratings, North Sea obligations, and other tax, legal, and cost considerations."

Talisman, a chronic underperformer now restructuring its operations in order to lower costs and boost its share price, has been in the spotlight since early October, when activist investor Carl Icahn revealed he'd taken a 6 percent stake in the company.

Kvisle said the company has met with Icahn and other activist shareholders over the past year and is sticking with its plan to restructure operations by focusing on the Americas and Asia, selling its Norwegian North Sea assets and limiting the amount it spends on its UK North Sea properties.   Continued...