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Apache Corp. stable after takeover bid

Company paid off roughly half of its outstanding debt, earning it a stable credit outlook.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Apache Corp. stable after takeover bid
Inland shale holdings in the United States one of the bright spots for Apache Corp., the ratings agency Fitch said. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- In the wake of a takeover bid, the credit outlook for energy company Apache Corp. is stable given its track record of solid performance, Fitch Ratings said.

"Apache's restructuring appears to be complete for now, as the company has reduced its international footprint and refocused on the U.S. onshore," the ratings agency said in its latest profile.

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Most energy companies are struggling to make a profit as oil prices continue to trade far below mid-2014 peaks above $100 per barrel. Apache, which has headquarters in Houston, reported a third-quarter net loss of $5.7 billion.

Fitch said one of the key drivers for Apache's long-term success, however, has been the repayment of a sizable chunk of its debt. The company's debt fell from a mid-2013 level close to $13 billion to $8.7 billion as of Sept. 30.

With a strong focus on inland basins in the United States, Fitch said it expects Apache's portfolio performance will "grow rapidly" given its strong position U.S. shale, particularly the Permian basin in Texas. A U.S. federal report on shale productivity said the Permian stood alone in terms of future output gains.

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Apache was the recent target of a takeover offer from rival Anadarko Petroleum. Anadarko said efforts to explore the merits of the offer were "summarily rejected" by Apache.

Fitch kept its outlook for Apache stable, with a BBB+ rating. Shares in Apache were down about 0.3 percent in pre-market trading Wednesday.

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