Chesapeake recovers some share value

Company's share value dropped 50 percent after it sought financial guidance.

By Daniel J. Graeber

OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Shares in U.S. oil and gas company Chesapeake Energy Corp. recovered lost ground after it said it was seeking financial guidance, but not filing for bankruptcy.

Shares in Chesapeake fell more than 50 percent from Friday's close to a low point of around $1.50 per share Monday. Values had recovered somewhat in overnight trading to settle around $2.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.


Pressure for the company emerged last year when industry consultant group IHS warned the steady decline in crude oil prices could limit the borrowing options for North American exploration and production companies like Chesapeake

Chesapeake in September said it was cutting 15 percent of its workforce, or around 750 employees. In October, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the corporate rating for Chesapeake by one notch to Ba2, saying the company will have to unload some of its assets and realign its capital structure to adjust to lower crude oil prices.

Last month, Chesapeake opted to suspend payment of preferred dividends in order to redirect about $170 million in cash toward its debts.

The company in a statement said it retained long-time counsel Kirkland & Ellis to help manage debt and strengthen its balance sheet.


"Chesapeake currently has no plans to pursue bankruptcy and is aggressively seeking to maximize value for all shareholders," it said.

Aubrey McClendon helped establish Chesapeake as a shale oil and natural gas pioneer before he was ousted through an investor rebellion in 2013. Under his tenure, the company became one of the largest natural gas producers in the United States.

Chesapeake (NYSE:CHK) ended 2013 at $25.93.

The company is expected to release its fourth quarter report Feb. 24.

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