Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) reported that, on Dec. 21, the Rice Energy Irrevocable Trust, a private trust established for the benefit of members of the Rice family, executed a block sale of 5,000,000 shares of Rice common stock to pay down a line of credit extended to the Rice Trust by Morgan Stanley Private Bank, National Association.
CEO Daniel J. Rice IV said, "Prior to this transaction, the Rice family had not sold a single share of Rice Energy since the family formed the company in 2007. In order to pay taxes and expenses incurred as a result of the Rice Energy IPO in 2014, the Rice Trust obtained two loans, the terms of which the Trust has been in compliance with at all times. However, in light of current volatile financial market conditions, the Rice Trust determined that repaying the loans preemptively in an orderly and structured manner was the most prudent path towards preventing a potential margin call event in the future that could possibly detrimentally impact Rice Energy's share price performance. As Rice Energy's largest shareholder, in no way does this stock sale reflect the Rice family's commitment to Rice Energy or its view of Rice Energy's future performance potential."
As disclosed in a Schedule 13D/A filed on Dec. 21, on Dec. 15, 2014, the Rice Trust entered into a line of credit agreement with Morgan Stanley for up to $33,000,000, and a financial assets security agreement, pursuant to which the Rice Trust pledged 6,750,000 shares of Rice common stock as security for its obligations to Morgan Stanley under the line of credit agreement.
Upon closing of the sale, the Rice Trust intends to repay in full and retire the line of credit, at which time the remaining shares of Rice common stock not sold in the block sale will be released from their pledge under the security agreement.
Rice Energy Inc. is an independent natural gas and oil company engaged in the acquisition, exploration. and development of natural gas and oil properties in the Appalachian Basin.