It's tempting to wax eloquent when telling you about Chesapeake Energy's
For the quarter, the company reported net income of $303 million, or $0.33 a share, compared to $471 million, or $0.96 a share, a year ago. That's why you may have seen hand-wringing headlines about a Chesapeake income decline.
But if you back out expenses totaling $128 million involved in the conversion of preferred stock to common, along with an unrealized loss on oil and gas hedging activities, the company earned $0.93 per share, vs. $0.90. That was $0.09 more than the dart throwers' expectations, and it put the company up there in the solid performance category with the likes of Devon
Despite producing a relatively small amount of oil, the essence of Chesapeake continues to remain natural gas, which represents 92% of its output. With that concentration, it occupies third place among gas producers in the U.S., behind only integrated giants BP
As such, it was important in the analyst call following the release to hear CEO Aubrey McClendon say, "Looking forward, however, we see many bullish factors ... that lead us to conclude that natural gas prices may have upside in them during the next two years." And to the company's investors, he said, "...I believe we are seeing a multiyear trend develop for prices that could keep them in the $8 to $10 range, instead of the $6 to $8 range."
In the meantime, Chesapeake's management team continues to execute on planned strategic moves to strengthen the company's future. For instance, its all-important reserve cache was increased by a comfortable 21% in 2007.
So, given the world we inhabit, I continue to believe in the supremacy of oil and gas. At least as it relates to the latter -- and with a share price that's up 50% from a year ago -- I really can't point my Foolish friends in a more positive direction than Chesapeake.
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