Late last Friday, credit rating firm Fitch Ratings downgraded the already low corporate credit rating of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) from ‘BB’ to ‘BB-’. The firm also lowered its rating on Chesapeake’s preferred stock from ‘B+’ to ‘B’ and reaffirmed its ‘BBB-’ rating on the company’s senior secured revolving credit. Fitch Ratings’ maintained its ‘negative’ outlook’.
Earlier last week S&P issued a similar downgrade on Chesapeake’s credit. In its report, Fitch said:
The downgrade reflects the company’s aggressive spending amid a period of expected weak natural gas price realizations and concerns relating to constrained liquidity longer term given the planned spending.
Fitch’s concerns are focused on the Chesapeake’s liquidity, which the ratings firm points out depends on Chesapeake’s ability to shed assets. S&P took a somewhat broader view, citing “revelations that underscore shortcomings in Chesapeake’s corporate governance practices, [and] covenant concerns” as well. However one looks at it, Chesapeake’s salad days are behind it.
The report from Fitch Ratings is available here.
Chesapeake’s closed up 6% on Friday, at $14.36 in a 52-week range of $13.32-$35.75.