News has broken today that BP is pursuing the potential sale of its 50% stake in its Russian joint venture TNK-BP. While this entity is one of the best cash flow producers for BP, problems have plagued the venture as the two sides cannot agree on strategy or governance. Doing business in Russia is a tough deal for a foreign company and I think BP is making a tough but correct decision to exit. I think they should have been looking more aggressively to dispose of this asset when oil prices were above $100 however. I think it will be tougher for them to get good value right now with oil in a bear market. If the company is patient and disciplined this sale could take a lot of risk off the table for BP, and then they must be smart on their capital allocation at that point. BP is extremely cheap at these levels and this situation will have a significant impact on the intrinsic value of the business.
Disclosure: I am long BP.