Apache Earnings Call Nuggets: Joint Ventures and Moody’s Ratings
Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.
Pearce Hammond, Jr. – Simmons & Co.: Steve, I guess, my first question is, you mentioned joint ventures, is that separate from the $4 billion or is that included in that $4 b n worth of divestitures?
G. Steven Farris – Chairman and CEO: No, that would be included, but it would be – the proceeds that have to be cash if you understand what I’m saying.
Pearce Hammond, Jr. – Simmons & Co.: It is included?
G. Steven Farris – Chairman and CEO: Yes…
Pearce Hammond, Jr. – Simmons & Co.: Then you mentioned in initial phase – the $4 billion in the initial phase. Does that imply that there is a second phase beyond the $4 billion?
G. Steven Farris – Chairman and CEO: Well, what I can say is the asset lift that we have generated at today’s prices and what our market expectations would exceed that $4 billion.
Pearce Hammond, Jr. – Simmons & Co.: Then my last question is, I think, the share buyback plan is a great idea, especially given how cheap the stock is. I guess, I was wondering why not use the full $4 billion to buy back the stock rather than paying down the debt because you have a very good balance sheet.
G. Steven Farris – Chairman and CEO: Two things. One is, we want to make sure we retain our flexibility and are A rated. The other one is, is that it also gives us financial flexibility to invest that money in our ongoing business.
Harry Mateer – Barclays: A couple of things. You just touched on it, but perhaps if you could just highlight for us again the importance of single A ratings at Moody’s and S&P to your long-term vision for the Company. Then second, the $2 billion of debt reduction. As you mentioned, you have $900 million of short-term debt, where does the other $1.1 billion of debt reduction come from?
Thomas P. Chambers – EVP and CFO: This is Tom Chambers. The other debt reduction comes from (indiscernible) and commercial paper.
Harry Mateer – Barclays: What was that commercial paper number at the end of the first quarter?
Thomas P. Chambers – EVP and CFO: I don’t have that in front of me. End of the first quarter, it was $619 million, about $600 million.
Harry Mateer – Barclays: Then on the single A ratings, that is of importance to you guys longer-term?
G. Steven Farris – Chairman and CEO: Well, we’ve historically tried to be financially (flip) fiscal and we want to continue that, it’s given us great flexibility over the years and we continue to think it will give us flexibility in the future.