March 17, 2016 / 8:33 PM / in 2 years

Chesapeake Energy considering 1.5-lien debt exchange: CapitalStructure

Chesapeake Energy Corporation's 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Sisney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp(CHK.N), an oil and gas company struggling in the commodities rout, is considering swapping out some of its existing debt for new 1.5 lien debt, according to CapitalStructure, a provider of news and analysis on the sub-investment grade space, citing sources close to the situation.

Depending on credit agreements, companies can generally wedge 1.5 lien debt in between their first and second liens.

Chesapeake has not made any decisions on the swap yet, and the timing is uncertain, according to CapitalStructure, citing one of the sources. The swap is attractive, however, based on Chesapeake bonds’ current pricing, CapitalStructure said, citing one of its sources.

The company’s bond maturing in 2017 were trading at around 70 cents on the dollar on Thursday, and its bonds maturing in 2018 at around 50 cents, according to Thomson Reuters data. Those levels are considered depressed.

A Chesapeake spokesperson did not immediately return requests for comment. The company has said it has no plans to file for bankruptcy.

Chesapeake completed another bond swap last year, when it offered debtholders secured bonds paying 8 percent interest for unsecured bonds maturing between 2017 and 2023.

That offer was considered a failure because holders of debt maturing in the near term did not widely participate in the deal.

At least 10 upstream oil and gas companies similar to Chesapeake completed bond swaps last year as they tried to reduce their debt burdens and costs as oil prices plunged. Several have been canceled this year.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Leslie Adler

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