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What: Shares of liquefied natural gas infrastructure wrangler Cheniere Energy (AMEX: LNG ) are going up in smoke today, losing as much as 20.8% of their value on about three times the average trading volume.
So what: The heavily debt-burdened company just filed a lawsuit against hedge fund Centerbridge Partners, which claims that a Cheniere subsidiary is in default on its senior debt notes. At issue is a complicated money flow between Cheniere Energy, subsidiary Cheniere Energy Partners (AMEX: CQP ) , the central Sabine Pass operation, and marketing entity Cheniere Energy Investments, and whether or not such transactions qualify as GAAP revenue for Sabine Pass.
Now what: My head hurts from this shell game of Cheniere entities. I can't tell whether the debt should be repaid immediately (which none of the business bodies can afford) because it's actually in default, or perhaps Cheniere's proclamations of innocence should win the day. But either way, management tells us that the default claim alone is damaging Sabine Pass operations, and financial damage will follow. I sure hope you don't have your entire nest egg hooked into the juicy 9% dividend yield on Cheniere Energy Partners, because this looks like a 50-50 chance of that yield evaporating in short order.
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