Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) Chairman, Archie Dunham has an important job for the energy firm; making sure CEO Aubrey McClendon stays on track to sell $7.4 billion in assets this year to avoid a cash flow fiasco. Dunham took over McClendon’s old Chairman position yesterday and is helping the company save money where it can to avoid any major miscalls. One of the first steps will be to watch CEO McClendon’s spending spree on the company’s expansion into uncharted oil fields.
All of this oversight is the latest call by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. Icahn purchased a sizeable stake in the company a little over a month ago to help shareholders regain their value, along with Chesapeake Energy.
Dunham is a good addition to the board because of his expertise that came with being an executive at ConocoPhillps (NYSE:COP) which ended in 2004. Dunham has over 30 years of experience in the business which should prove to do wonders for the natural gas company.
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The company announced that it plans on selling as much as $14 billion worth of assets this year to help curb a shortage of cash flow for the company. This month, Chesapeake said they are in agreement to sell pipeline assets for $4 billion which brings this year’s total asset sales total to $6.6 billion. To avoid a credit downgrade, Chesapeake must sell an additional $7 billion in assets this year.
McClendon says that Chesapeake is looking to sell its assets from the Permian Basin which he estimates at being valued around $5 billion. Chesapeake has been witnessing a profit crunch as energy prices dive to lower levels and financial crisis ravages through Europe.
Everyone over at Chesapeake is counting on Dunham’s past experiences to help lead Chesapeake out of the storm. Unfortunately, deteriorating conditions do not help and could prolong the rescue mission. At ConocoPhillips, Dunham sold pipelines, refineries, gas processing plants, gas stations, fuel terminals, etc to help maintain a healthy balance sheet during tough periods for oil and other energy commodities.
The bottom line here is that Chesapeake still has much to do before they are out of the cash flow storm. Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) has already warned the company to raise that additional $7 billion by the end of the year otherwise they credit rating will be cut. Chesapeake shareholders trust Icahn and his activist shareholdering, watch him continue to clean up Chesapeake.