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Chesapeake (CHK) Maintains its Borrowing Limit at $4 Billion

Chesapeake Energy Corporation CHK announced that it has modified its $4 billion secured revolving credit facility agreement with its bank syndicate group. The agreement will mature in 2019.

Also, maintaining the current availability, the borrowing limit was reiterated at $4 billion. This move comes as a surprise amid the oil price crash that continues to affect most oil and gas producers with the possibility of steep cuts to their credit lines. Notably, under the Credit Agreement, Chesapeake had to pledge additional assets as collateral for the redetermination.

Additionally, the next scheduled redetermination of borrowing base has been deferred as a condition of the amendment. The lenders have agreed not to exercise their interim redetermination right, in each case until Jun 2017. The amendment comprises of a collateral value coverage test, which may limit Chesapeake's borrowing capacity if its collateral coverage ratio is below 1.25x, tested as of Mar 31, 2017.

The aforesaid modification will provide temporary relief from the Credit Agreement, with the facility's senior secured leverage ratio postponed until Sep 2017, then returning to 3.5x through Dec 2017 and subsequently declining to 3.0x. Moreover, the amendment decreases the interest coverage ratio to 0.65x from 1.1x through Mar 2017. Thereafter, it will rise to 0.70x through Jun 2017 before reverting to 1.2x in Sep 2017 and to 1.25x after that.

During the period when the current maintenance agreements are postponed, Chesapeake will maintain a minimum liquidity of $500 million at all times. This, however, might increase to $750 million if its collateral coverage ratio falls below 1.1x, tested as of Dec 31, 2016.

The modification also allows Chesapeake to incur first lien debt of about $2.5 billion on a pari passu basis with existing obligations under the Credit Agreement. This is subject to payment priority in favor of existing lenders and is subject to the other limitations on junior lien debt set out in the Credit Agreement.

Currently, Chesapeake carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players from the energy sector are ReneSola Ltd. SOL, FutureFuel Corp. FF and Enviva Partners, LP EVA. Each of these stocks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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CHESAPEAKE ENGY (CHK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
RENESOLA LT-ADR (SOL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FUTUREFUEL CORP (FF): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ENVIVA PARTNERS (EVA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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