What a difference a few weeks, a few million dollars and a few new board leaders can make. This is likely what Chesapeake (CHK) investors were saying as they headed into their annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday, June 8.
The weeks prior to the meeting were filled with discontent among shareholders who received news that the natural gas producer’s cash flows were in such disarray that it was struggling to cover its operational expenses. The reason stemmed mainly from natural gas prices plunging to record 10-year lows. The natural gas business, once a boon for energy companies, is no longer as profitable. Chesapeake, second in size to Exxon Mobil (XOM) in terms of natural gas production, which had taken on billions of dollars of debt to expand its pipelines, now finds itself, having to sell those assets to make ends meet, according to Reuters.
While the decline in natural gas prices played a role in Chesapeake’s financial woes, other issues related to the company’s CEO Aubrey McClendon have stolen the headlines. They’ve also taken the focus off of the company’s main financial problems, and that entails being unable and/or unwilling to make decisions in the best interest of shareholders.
In a scathing report released June 7, also by Reuters, several financial transactions made by McClendon were called into question. They included controversial investments in areas outside of the company’s core business. For example, hefty investments were made in retail outlets, like shopping centers, which had nothing to do with natural gas production.To continue reading, click here.