Embattled Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) CEO, Aubrey McClendon, will address a Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) sponsored energy meeting tomorrow. This formal address will conclude the CEO’s protracted silence, which has lasted for several months.
McClendon went mum in May, after Southeastern Asset Management Inc, the company’s largest shareholder, told the CEO to divert his attention to company operations, rather than public relations. This move by Southeastern came after McClendon advocated for natural gas in an energy-circuit conference. His actions were followed by a letter dated May 7th that instructed the CEO to restrain from public relations.
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The 53 year old CEO has had to jump through many hoops this year. He not only had to heighten the tempo on asset sales, but is also under investigation over a conflict with the company’s finances and his personal finances. In fact, investigations have now kicked into the fifth month, and shareholders are anxious to establish the truth behind the allegations placed on McClendon.
It’s all about asset sales
Interestingly, all this will be treated as a side show- at least by the company. At the moment, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has streamlined all its activities and directed its efforts towards assets sales. It is currently placing profound accents on the Permian sales. There are still some pending sales in the Permian basin, a potent deposit that straddles large chunks of land on the Texas-New Mexico border.
McClendon’s speech will attract a lot of listeners, partly because of his silence, and primarily because of the interests of investors. Institutional investors will be keen to note whether he will point out- either directly or subtly – anything regarding asset sales, particularly Permian sales.
Tim Rezvan, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc analyst, notes that chances of McClendon delving into the details of asset sales tomorrow are slim, if not nil. The analyst maintains that it would be inappropriate for McClendon to touch on the sales, as the company is obliged to release such details together with quarterly earnings releases.
Rezvan went further to note that McClendon’s decision to address the conference tomorrow was, perhaps, brought about by the seriousness of the conference. After all, the Barclays annual CEO energy conference is arguably the most prestigious event for energy CEOs. “It’s a big one and you really can’t send a junior in your place,” remarks Rezvan.
Earlier in August, we reported that credit market investors had taken note of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)’s aggressive asset sales, and viewed the sales as potential solutions to the company’s financial woes. If Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) maintains the tempo, it could very well plug the cash drain and cover its bulging debt.