Haliburton Banks on Middle East

Halliburton seeks Middle East investors

Oil services and infrastructure company says it is looking to launch $80 billion in new projects worldwide during the next five years

Reprinted from CNN Money, May 22 2007

DUBAI (Reuters) — U.S. oil services firm Halliburton is looking for major investors to take a stake in the company as it eyes about $80 billion in projects worldwide during the next five years.

“One of my goals would be to find a set of investors or an investor interested in taking a longer-term investment in the company,” Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar told reporters Tuesday when asked if the firm is searching for major investors as it expands outside the Americas.

Halliburton (Charts, Fortune 500) is tracking about 60 projects worldwide worth about $80 billion for which it may compete during the next five years, Lesar told a briefing in Dubai, out of a potential oil services project market of around $100 billion a year, he said.

The company recently relocated its headquarters to Dubai. 

About 70 percent of that potential market is outside the Americas, which is why Lesar himself and Halliburton’s corporate headquarters moved to Dubai, he said.

Halliburton cuts ties from KBR

“If you look at a map of global oil and gas reserves, the focus of our business and industry is clearly moving to this part of the world,” he said.

The company aims to do 50 percent of its business in the Eastern Hemisphere, up from around 35 percent now, Lesar said. He declined to give a timeframe for meeting the target.

The oil services giant plans a secondary listing of its shares in the region. It has yet to decide on which bourse to list, but it could be on Dubai’s exchange, Lesar said.

He said there are no tax implications for the company due to the move to Dubai. “We have been and continue to be a U.S. registered company,” he said.

When the company announced Lesar was moving to Dubai in March, some U.S. politicians accused it of turning its back on a government that had been the source of much of its business.

Lesar said the negative media coverage generated by the company due to its ties to the current U.S. administration, would “cure itself in the very near future.”

Vice President Dick Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Former Halliburton unit KBR (Charts) is the U.S. Pentagon’s largest contractor in Iraq and has drawn scrutiny from auditors for the quality and pricing of its work for the U.S. Army.

Halliburton aims to boost its number of employees worldwide by about 14,000 this year, Lesar said. During the first quarter it took on around 4,800, of which around 2,000 were outside the Americas.

Shares of Halliburton (Charts, Fortune 500) closed Monday at $36.71 on the New York Stock Exchange. Top of page

Halliburton cuts ties from KBR

Halliburton’s first-quarter profit rises

KBR agrees to settle Army fraud allegations

Source:  CNNMoney.com, May 22, 2007

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