Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has announced the sale of its interest in Chesapeake Midstream Partners, L.P. (CHKM) to Global Infrastructure Management LLC this morning. The firm will pay $2 billion for the share in CHKM and there will be a related dale of $2 billion of Assets from Chesapeake to Midstream.
The move is part of Chesapeake’s plan to resolve its cash crisis but may raise the ire of some investors. Carl Icahn raised questions about the sale in the last week. Midstream provides Chesapeake with a constant stream of income, something the firm has a great need for.
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What is more in need at the company however is asset sales and that is apparent from today’s announcement. Moody’s issued a report that said Chesapeake needed to sell $7 billion in assets in order to meet its loan covenants for 2012.
The company has plans to sell somewhere in the region of $20 billion in assets between this year and the next. The company is hurting from the low price in natural gas and financial irresponsibility by the firm’s management. This has caused a large fall in the firm’s stock this year though that seems to be recovering at the moment as Carl Icahn’s influence and a change in the company’s board is bringing about a resurgence.
Chesapeake’s shares rose this morning on the news of the sale by 0.84% to $18 at time of writing. The firm started the year trading at 23.60 and fell to a low of just above 13 in the middle of may.
The sale will add to more than $10 billion global pipeline assets held by Global Infrastructure Partners. Chesapeake Midstream pays most of its cash to its owners in the form of a dividend. That means it will be a reliable source of cash for Global Infrastructure Partners from now on. Chesapeake have, however, lost out on that constant flow.
With this sale it looks like Chesapeake are on track to meet their goals in asset sales for the coming year. If it manages to do that it will be safe from its more immediate problems but there are longer term issues the company has to deal with.
The low price of natural gas does not look to be going away any time soon, and being the second largest producer of natural gas in the country, Chesapeake is suffering disproportionately. Today’s sale will reassure investors but it does not make Chesapeake’s long term future any easier.