Company News: Halliburton to shift more investments abroad

Halliburton will shift some 70 percent of its capital investment over the next five years to the Eastern Hemisphere, which includes oil and gas zones in the Middle East, Russia, Africa, the North Sea and East Asia, the company’s chief said Tuesday from his new headquarters in Dubai.

Dave Lesar, arriving for his first week in United Arab Emirates, said Halliburton Co. would quickly expand its Mideast operations as it targets $80 billion in new business over the next five years — 75 percent of which lies in the eastern hemisphere, mainly the Middle East.

“Halliburton is committed to this part of the world,” Lesar told a group of Dubai-based reporters.

The company seeks Arab investors and a share listing on Dubai’s new international stock exchange, Lesar said. Halliburton has already hired 4,800 of the 14,000 new workers it plans to bring aboard this year, many of them in the Arab world, he said.

“We’re looking for as many young Arab and Asian engineers, technicians and professionals to come and join our organization,” Lesar said while swigging a Coke in a swanky hotel meeting room.

MGM Mirage Inc.’s board of directors met Tuesday for the first time since Tracinda Corp., the investment arm of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, announced it wanted to enter talks to buy two MGM Mirage properties and perhaps restructure the giant casino company.

Chief Executive Terry Lanni did not accept questions about the Tracinda announcement during a shareholders meeting early Tuesday, and by the afternoon the board was still meeting behind closed doors.

Kerkorian, 89, was present at the shareholders’ meeting but said nothing about the matter. He was expected to attend the board meeting as a member. Tracinda owns 56 percent of MGM Mirage shares.

“Brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos. said Tuesday it is on track to meet its 2007 earnings-per-share growth target of 7 percent to 10 percent, but said its second-quarter profit would come in below Wall Street’s current projections.

Chief Executive August Busch IV told stock analysts that the nation’s biggest brewer planned to cut between $300 million and $400 million in costs over the next four years. Busch said the company plans to grow revenue by selling premium beers and launching a select group of non-beer beverages in growing markets.

Anheuser-Busch’s stock rose $1.42 to close at $51.07 Tuesday.


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