Chesapeake Energy receives $3 billion loan

AP News
Posted: May 12, 2012 1:30 PM
Chesapeake Energy receives $3 billion loan

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has received a $3 billion loan from Goldman Sachs and Jefferies Group, giving the company more time to sell assets and lower its debt.

Chesapeake has been aggressively selling oil and gas assets, but its stock tumbled Friday after the company suggested that some of its planned sales could be delayed. Investors, who worried about a cash crunch if any sales were delayed or halted, sent Chesapeake's stock down 13.8 percent to close at $14.81 on Friday.

But the Oklahoma City company's shares climbed 3.7 percent to $15.35 in after-hours trading on news of the unsecured loan.

"This short-term loan from Goldman and Jefferies provides us with significant additional financial flexibility as we execute our asset sales during the remainder of 2012," Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon said in a statement.

Chesapeake said late Friday that it plans to complete $9 billion to $11.5 billion in asset sales during the remainder of 2012 and will use part of the proceeds from those sales to pay back the loan. The company previously outlined plans to sell as much as $14 billion of assets this year.

Chesapeake anticipates closing on the sale of its Permian Basin property in Texas and its Mississippi Lime joint venture during the third quarter, saying it has received strong interest for both assets from potential buyers.

Chesapeake also said that it will use the loan's net proceeds to repay borrowings under an existing revolving credit facility. The new facility expires on Dec. 2, 2017.

Shares of the company had drifted lower earlier on Friday after a published report said the company didn't tell investors about $1.4 billion in liabilities.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chesapeake has raised $6.4 billion since 2007 by signing oil and gas production deals with a number of banks. Those deals are essentially debts that Chesapeake must repay with oil and natural gas. The Journal said the full cost of meeting those obligations over the next 10 years wasn't disclosed.

Chesapeake spokesman Michael Kehs disagreed. He said a portion of those liabilities were included in a May 1 regulatory filing as part of its operating costs for 2012. Kehs said the rest of the $1.4 billion is reflected in an estimate of future net revenue from Chesapeake's oil and natural gas reserves, which the company put at $48 billion in a Feb. 29 regulatory filing.

A series of negative headlines have called Chesapeake's leadership and oversight into question recently. During the past few weeks, news reports revealed that McClendon took out personal loans from a company while that company was planning to buy Chesapeake assets. Reuters also reported that McClendon ran a private hedge fund that made bets on the price of oil and natural gas _ commodities that Chesapeake produces.

Chesapeake has stripped McClendon of his board chairmanship. It's also ending a program that allows McClendon to make personal investments in the company's wells. On Friday, Chesapeake said McClendon received $108.6 million from January to April from sales of company well assets.