Shares of Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) surged 12.3% on Wednesday to $31.78 after the company announced its intentions to either sell or spin off its Canadian and Barnett Shale assets, and also boost its dividend to fund additional share-repurchasing efforts.
The moves come after the Oklahoma City-based company said it was moving forward with its plans to complete its transformation into an oil and gas exploration company focused primarily on oil growth from wells it drills in U.S. shale fields.
"With our world-class U.S. oil resource plays rapidly building momentum and achieving operating scale, the final step in our multi-year transformation is an aggressive, transformational move that will accelerate value creation for our shareholders by further simplifying our resource-rich asset portfolio," CEO Dave Hager said in a statement.
The company expects to complete the separation of its Canadian and Barnett Shale assets by the end of 2019. Devon has hired advisers for both assets and expects to actively pursue selling or spinning off both by the second quarter of 2019.
Devon said it expects to use the proceeds from the separation of these assets to maintain target debt levels of 1-1.5 times EBITDA, and to continue its share repurchasing activity.
Separately, Devon also said on Tuesday that it plans to boost its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to expand its share-repurchase program to $5 billion from $4 billion, and to reduce annual costs by at least $780 million. The new quarterly dividend rate will be 9 cents a share vs. 8 cents.
"New Devon will emerge with a highly focused U.S. asset portfolio and the ability to substantially increase returns and profitability," Hager said in the statement.