Business Strategy and Outlook| Dave Meats, CFA |
Hess' track record for efficiently allocating capital and generating value has been steadily improving for several years. This had been a source of frustration for shareholders in the past. Before 2012, the firm was struggling with persistent budget overruns and costly exploration failures, and the eventual collapse in its share price led to a heated proxy fight with an activist investor (which it lost). Subsequently, the board was reshuffled and management began streamlining the company, selling midstream and downstream assets and rationalizing its upstream portfolio. The current portfolio is substantially more competitive, but the development cost requirements are heavily front-load.