Chesapeake suspends dividends and hires debt advisors
Chesapeake Energy has slashed payment of dividends to zero. The Oklahoma-based oil and gas developer had started this year with $8.92 billion in debt but stressed the suspension of dividends does not imply it will default under any of the company's debt instruments. Whiting Petroleum became the first U.S. upstream company to file for bankruptcy on April 1. Others are not far off, notable Chesapeake Energy and Denbury Resources which are understood to have hired debt advisors. Chesapeake is struggling with a debt burden of nearly $9 billion, up 900 million from the previous year due to the acquisition of Wildhorse Resource Development. The risk of bankruptcies looms large among U.S. fracking companies which struggle with demand destruction as the coronavirus pandemic has brought major economies worldwide to a halt. Gradual relaxation of lockdowns and an agreement of OPEC+ to reduce oil production are hoped to lift prices starting from the second quarter.
Magnolia LNG faces financial crunch
The Australian-listed developer of the US Magnolia export plant in Louisiana with an agreement to supply cargoes to Vietnam said a takeover bid by a Singapore-based private company has been pushed back to mid-April, while its own temporary financing is not now forthcoming from a US equity and capital fund. “LNGL’s existing funding is sufficient to meet all of LNGL’s commitments until late April 2020, but LNGL needs to secure additional funding urgently to continue operating beyond then,” the company disclosed. LNG Ltd, which is also developing the Bear Head LNG project in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, said the formal bid would now be lodged in several weeks at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulator and then dispatched to shareholders by late April 2020. “The delay from the indicative timeline in the Bid Implementation Agreement is principally due to challenges from and the unavailability of relevant personnel as a result of the global impact of COVID-19,” said LNGL. LNGL added that it would now issue its target’s statement as soon as practicable (and no later than 15 days) after the bidder’s statement from the unnamed Singapore entity, known only as LNG9 Pte Ltd, goes to shareholders.