Chesapeake Offers Buyouts to 275 Employees

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The country’s second largest natural gas producer, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) today announced that it has offered a voluntary separation program to approximately 275 employees “as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.” The employees who received the offer were selected “based upon a combination of age and years of Chesapeake service.”

Chesapeake has set a goal of selling $13 to $14 billion in assets by the end this year, and recently announced the sale of $2.16 billion in midstream assets to Access Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: ACMP) and about $300 million more in midstream assets to Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA) among others. At the end of September, the company had sold about $11.6 billion in assets for the year, so the recent dispositions put total sales right at about $13.96 billion.

The buyouts offered today indicate that the company still needs to adjust its expenses to its revenues. Natural gas prices are up nicely this year, but remain stubbornly below $4 per thousand cubic feet, trading around $3.32 today, down about 15% from a recent high near $3.90.

Chesapeake has already laid off about 185  of more than 12,000 employees so far this year.

Shares are up 0.5% at $16.77 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09.

Paul Ausick

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