ExxonMobil considers sale of elastic polymer business

ExxonMobil is exploring the sale of its Advanced Elastomer Systems division, potentially valuing the elastic polymer maker at around $800 million including debt, Reuters reports.

The deal would allow the oil major to nibble at its debt pile, which totaled $45.5 billion at the end of December. Its shares are up around 37% year-to-date on investor expectations that the company will benefit from a recovery in energy prices.

ExxonMobil has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to solicit interest in AES from potential buyers, including private equity firms. ExxonMobil and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

ExxonMobil incurred a historic loss of $22.4 billion last year, and is trying to convince a skeptical Wall Street that it can rebound after years of overspending left it deeply indebted and lagging behind rivals better geared for a world demanding cleaner fuels.

AES is known for its Santoprene thermoplastic vulcanizates, which are elastic polymers used in automotive, industrial and consumer products. The business was launched in 1991 as a limited partnership between ExxonMobil Chemical and Solutia. ExxonMobil became the sole owner of AES in 2002. Read the full story.