OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chesapeake Energy, the nation's second largest natural gas driller, reported narrowed first-quarter losses Thursday and a $470 million sale of assets that could provide the company with a little more breathing room after nearly a decade of declining prices.
Shares jumped 7 percent in early trading, as did shares of other major players in the sector, even though natural gas futures, down more than 9 percent this year, fell again Thursday.
Chesapeake will sell about 42,000 acres of assets to energy company Newfield Exploration Co. for $470 million. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.
The company has slashed spending, sold assets and cut jobs to save money. Last month, it also ended dividend payments for its preferred stock, a move that saves the company $170 million per year.
The Oklahoma City company lost $921 million, or $1.44 per share, in the three months that ended March 31. Per-share losses, adjusted for asset impairment costs and non-recurring costs, came to 10 cents per share. That was a penny better than analysts had expected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research, and much better than last year's quarterly loss of $3.74 billion, or $5.72 per share.
Revenue fell 39 percent to $993 million in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $920.8 million.
Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s stock rose 39 cents to $6.04.