Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stop the Presses! Benzinga's Got a Hot Story About WPX Energy

An example of the Fourth Estate’s trending indolence is found in a recent Benzinga business story.

Shares of WPX Energy Inc (NYSE: WPX), a natural gas and oil exploration and production company, hit a new 52-week low of $2.53 after the company disclosed it has added more hedges to protect its cash flows.  

Shares of WPX Energy were halted for trading three times and were trading lower by more than 25 percent by late Wednesday morning. 

WPX Energy said that approximately 75 percent of its anticipated oil volumes for 2016 are hedged "well above" the current market price. 

The company expanded that it now has 29,380 barrels of oil per day hedged at $60.85 per barrel. WPX Energy also noted that throughout the past two months, it has been active in reducing its long-term debt by repurchasing approximately $68 million in notes of a $400 million maturity due in early 2017 at a discount to par. 

Finally, WPX Energy stated that it has been increasing its liquidity through asset sales and remains engaged in discussions with third parties in regards to its assets in the Piceance Basin. "We continue to proactively manage our finances," stated Rick Muncrief, WPX president and chief executive officer. "This positions us to grow our portfolio when commodity prices rebound, especially our world-class Permian Delaware asset. The results of our early work in the basin are exceeding our expectations. 

"Despite the lede, not once in the article did the columnist, Jayson Derrick, mention (or even speculate) WHY the share price sank 25% in value.

If copying a business wire press release passes as business journalism in the new millennium, where do I sign-up  (to make some easy cash)?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The progress U.S. leadership has made in the world

“The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.” President Barack Obama - 2016 State of the Union Address

How do images of U.S. Navy on their knees before their Iranian captors “work as a TV sound bite” to the world, Mr. President? But then you have that “historic global climate agreement” as your foreign policy legacy, Mr. President – now don’t you?

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Wall Street Traders Doubt Legacy Reserves' Survival

The markets continue to signal that energy MLP Legacy Reserves (LGCY - $1.76) is on the brink – of a potential bankruptcy filing: the price of common units have fallen more than 57% since 3Q earnings release on November 5.  

Chief executive Paul Home – at least in public – continues to assuage analysts and investors alike, emphasizing management’s combined experience in working through prior cycle lows.

Granted, LGCY does have good geographic diversification, with operations in the Permian basin, Rocky Mountain, and Mid-Continent regions. Nonetheless, Wall Street is signaling that the MLP’s significant leverage is unsustainable – total debt of $1.46 billion swamps equity (after the latest round of asset write-downs) more than 8 times: the 8.0% preferred stock has lost almost 40% in value – current yield is 29%; the 6.625% bond maturing December 01, 2021 has plunged more than 70% in the last sixty days and currently trades for twenty cents on the dollar!

CFO Dan Wescott insists, however, that going forward the MLP will continue generating free cash flow. True, adjusted EBITDA in the latest quarter easily covered bond interest and preferred dividend payments more than 2:1 times.

As indicated, current trading suggests Wall Street isn’t buying management’s optimism. Additionally, as hedges roll off (natural gas hedges cover only 45% of current production for 2016), distribution coverage of even bond payments is suspect.

Going forward unless the MLP monetizes some of its untapped acreage positions – or seeks out a buyer for its lucrative midstream assets (567 miles of high-pressure pipeline & low-pressure gathering systems) – to cure debt-related obligations, there will be no “legacy” for investors to inherit.

Editor David J Phillips holds a financial interest in the stock mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West

"In the end, Europe's enemy is not Islam, or even radical Islam. Europe's enemy is itself—its self-destructive passivity, its softness toward tyranny, its reflexive inclination to appease, and its uncomprehending distaste for America's pride, courage, and resolve in the face of a deadly foe." 

This prescient quote written 10 years ago speaks to what will lead to the Balkanization of Europe and attendant rise of needless deaths of more innocents in Europe.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More Lies from Magnum Hunter Resources?

The price of Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR - $0.52) soared more than 70% to $1.33 per share on August 10 when the Marcellus/Utica NG driller announced intent to farm-out certain undeveloped and unproved oil and gas leasehold acreage currently held by a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The putative deal was to be structured so that cash-starved MHR would receive – in total – an infusion up to $430 million to co-develop acreage located in the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale in Monroe and Washington Counties, Ohio from this un-named venture capital fund.

Following the achievement by the fund of the greater of (i) a 12% internal rate of return on invested capital and (ii) a 1.20x multiple on invested capital, 100% of the Fund’s working interests in the acreage would automatically revert to Triad, save for a non-operated working interest of 10% by the fund. 

These days, Magnum Hunter seems to be “growing a tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth (Polish poet Czeslaw Milovz).”

Similar to the supposed asset sale of its Eureka Hunter pipeline, this joint venture looks more like another desperate act of dissimulation by management: the regulatory filing stated that a definitive agreement would be executed within “the next 30 to 45 days.”

Come September 25, investors will find out if Gary Evans & company are dealing in truths or lies.

Editor David J Phillips holds a financial interest in the stock mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Does Magnum Hunter Resources Have a Winning Bid - or Not?

Management of Magnum Hunter Resources ($0.67) said on the August 5 earnings call that a decision on the Eureka Hunter pipeline asset sale was "imminent."

Direct quote: "We've gotten three more bids now – or three total bids. We're expecting more over the weekend and this week. And so we will pick a horse probably by the end of the next week or at the latest the beginning of the following."

It's now September and no deal has been announced -- and the stock price continues to hit new lows. Whom should investors believe - Gary Evans, the CEO of this struggling Marcellus/Utica NG driller or selling shareholders?  At present, a sagging share price suggests "no deal."

Gary Evans, "come on down" and prove to Wall Street you do have a winning bid for your showcase.

... And on a related note: According to a recent SEC filing, as MHR struggles to maintain solvency it hands over the keys to a company-owned residence in Marietta, Ohio to employee, Jim Denny, a former MHR executive at Triad Hunter, an Appalachian subsidiary,

Editor David J Phillips holds a financial interest in the stock mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Looking at Southcross Energy's 21% Yield? Don't

At  $7.50, the share price of Southcross Energy Partners (SXE) offers a 21.3% dividend yield. Income investors who have stopped to sniff around this midstream master limited partnership, however, might want to pick up their piggy banks and keep walking.

The majority of its revenue is derived from fixed-fee contracts, which have limited direct exposure to commodity price levels. Nonetheless, the continued slowdown in producer drilling activity is crippling income, as most sales are based on volumes of natural gas (gathered, processed, treated, compressed and transported). In the most recent quarter ended June 30, sales fell 14.3% to $167.2 million.

Southcross Energy is highly leveraged, carrying total debt more than ten times trailing twelve-month EBITDA of $48 million. A continued deterioration in financial performance suggests the mouth-watering $1.60 dividend (per share) is likely to be materially slashed – if not eliminated in its entirety.

Management hinted as such in the recent second-quarter 10Q filing: “our forecast indicates a shortfall in the amount of consolidated EBITDA (as amended in May 2015) necessary to remain in compliance with the consolidated total leverage ratio of our Financial Covenants.”

The company will need to raise at least $35 million to cure this deficiency.

Weak market fundamentals augur a dividend cut will be high on any list of necessary executed actions. 

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.