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ExxonMobil (XOM) to Merge Refining & Marketing Divisions

Zacks

ExxonMobil Corporation XOM plans to merge its two separate business units into ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company.

The merger is expected in first-quarter 2018. The merged company will be headed by the current president of ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company — Bryan Milton — effective Jan 1, 2018. Milton has been elected as the president by ExxonMobil’s board of directors.

The merger of two operations — ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company and ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company — will enable the company take better decisions and boost performance in the market. The development enable ExxonMobil generate more cashflow from downstream activities – helping the energy giant to counter the volatility in its upstream business. In details, ExxonMobil reported only $196 million profit from its upstream operation during 2016, following persistent weak crude prices, compared to as high as $8.8 billion earnings from the downstream and chemical businesses.

The scope of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company, along with ExxonMobil affiliates, will include purchasing of crude and logistics. Refining, supply, trading, midstream, marketing and sales of refined products will also be handled by the merged company.

In 1986, Bryan Milton, aged 53 years, joined Exxon Chemical at Fawley in the U.K. Milton worked in diverse plant and developmental engineering roles, along with his involvement in assignments as operations and plant manager.

He also devoted time in upstream natural gas commercial sales. Previously, he held various leadership positions within ExxonMobil Chemical Company in Houston, TX.In 2004, Milton was appointed as managing director for ExxonMobil Aviation fuels, based in the U.K.

In 2006, Milton was appointed manager of the Baton Rouge chemical plant. In 2008, he was made executive assistant to the chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation. In 2009, he was promoted vice president of Basic Chemicals for ExxonMobil Chemical Company. Prior tothis, Milton was president of ExxonMobil Global Services Company. He attained his current position in 2016.

Price Performance

Shares of the company have gained 9% compared with the industry’s rally of 11% in the last three months.

Zacks Rank& Other Key Picks

ExxonMobil currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other prospective players in the energy sector include Holly Energy Partners, LP HEP, ConocoPhillips COP and Northern Oil and Gas Inc NOG. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Holly Energy Partners, owner and operator of refined product pipelines and terminals, delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 57.14% in the preceding quarter.

ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, TX, is a major global exploration and production (E&P) company. It delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 152.34% in the last four quarters.

Northern Oil and Gas, based in Minnetonka, MN, is an independent energy company. The company delivered an average earnings surprise of 175.00% in the last four quarters.

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