The Denver-based oil-and-gas producer lost $353.7 million in the fourth quarter and also made the Wolfe Research list of likely takeover candidates—but the company said late last month that it will only pursue non-core asset sales rather than a "significant" transaction.
Whiting Petroleum became the largest producer in North Dakota's Williston Basin when it bought Kodiak Oil & Gas last December, assuming $2.2 billion of Kodiak's debt but gaining enough wells to help boost proved reserves 78 percent last year. It also sold $1 billion of common stock and $2 billion in convertible notes last month, which caused its stock to slump as it coincided with the management decision to not find a buyer.
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At the same time, it's cutting capital spending in half, to $2 billion this year. The strategy amounts to a bet that oil prices will rebound by the time the new debt is due for repayment in 2019 and 2020.
In January, S&P lowered its outlook on the company's bonds to negative from stable (BB+ rating). S&P said leverage could exceed levels it views as appropriate for the rating over the next two years and debt/EBITDA would run between 3.5x and 4x, though that could change based on revisions in capital spending or improved operating margins.
Whiting first quarter 2015 earnings: April 29
- Altman-Z Score: 0.89
- One-year stock performance: -51 percent
- One-month stock performance: 4 percent
- S&P rating: BB+/stable outlook (revised down from positive in January)