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S&P Cuts Chesapeake's Credit Rating Further Into Junk On Funding Needs

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Standard & Poor's Ratings Services moved Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s (CHK) rating a step further into junk territory, citing revelations of potential conflicts of interest by Chairman and Chief Executive Aubrey K. McClendon, revised production expectations and higher funding needs. Reports last month suggested McClendon borrowed as much as $1.1 billion over the last three years, pledging some of the company's oil and gas wells as collateral. Chesapeake initially rebuffed the notion that its CEO's borrowing against some of its assets raised a conflict of interest. But earlier this month, Chesapeake's board and McClendon agreed to terminate the controversial contract 18 months before it had been scheduled to end. S&P lowered its ratings on Chesapeake Energy a notch to double-B-minus from double-B, leaving it three steps below investment grade. The outlook is negative. "The downgrade reflects mounting turmoil stemming from revelations that underscore shortcomings in Chesapeake's corporate governance practices, covenant concerns, and the likelihood Chesapeake will face an even wider gap between its operating cash flow and planned capital expenditures than we had previously anticipated," said credit analyst Scott Sprinzen. The ratings company said the recent turmoil could hamper Chesapeake's ability to meet its external funding requirements amid weak operating cash flow and aggressive ongoing capital spending. Chesapeake recently reported its first-quarter loss narrowed as the natural-gas producer reported a smaller derivative loss from the year-ago period and as production increased. But company has said it expects a significant decrease from the first-quarter's peak capital expenditure levels during the remainder of 2012 and in 2013 as its further reduces drilling activity in dry natural gas plays and reduce spending on new leasehold. Last week, Moody's Investors Service lowered its outlook on Chesapeake to negative from stable, saying the company's recent operating results revealed a large capital spending funding gap this year. Moody's still rates Chesapeake at Ba2, two steps into junk territory. -By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; melodie.warner@dowjones.com

Stock News for Chesapeake (CHK)
DateTimeHeadline
04/19/201510:18:035 Megatrends in Energy
04/15/201515:05:15How to Make a Portfolio of Natural Gas Stocks
04/15/201514:30:02How to Make a Portfolio of Natural Gas Stocks
04/15/201510:57:49A New Twist For Aubrey McClendon
04/15/201503:16:22Aubrey McClendon's Financier Settles Lawsuit With Chesapeake...
04/14/201516:01:00Chesapeake Energy Corp. Announces Release Date & Conference Call...
04/13/201519:33:15Priced To Imperfection: Natural Gas Undervalued And Poised To...
04/12/201503:18:23Why Chesapeake Energy Is A Buy For The Long Term
04/10/201510:25:133 Reasons Why Chesapeake Energy Corporationâs Stock Plunged 1...
04/09/201519:21:20Study finds rising radon levels in Pennsylvania homes amid fracking...
04/07/201516:01:00Chesapeake Energy Corporation Appoints Kimberly K. Querrey to...
04/06/201506:04:01Insider Weekends - April 3, 2015
04/04/201509:00:02The Biggest Mergers and Acquisitions in Natural Gas Stocks
04/02/201509:34:30Chesapeake Energy Gets No Love, Except From An Insider
04/02/201502:40:47First Quarter Large Cap Winners And Losers
04/01/201514:58:21Earthquake Case Could Doom Fracking in Oklahoma
04/01/201509:10:34Chesapeake chairman buys 1M shares worth nearly $14M
03/31/201513:15:25Investors Look for Gems in Rubble of Crude's Collapse
03/30/201510:10:02Carl Icahn Using Chesapeake As A Bet On Oil Prices
03/26/201507:37:57Oil: The Bottom Is In And It Is Time To Add Stocks

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