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Penn Virginia Suspends Dividend

Penn Virginia Corp., whose primary focus is the Upper Eagle Ford Shale, on Thursday suspended its quarterly dividends, one day after receiving notice that its stock price had fallen below $1.00 for 30 consecutive trading days.

The Radnor, PA-based independent said it suspended the dividend because of the "current commodity price environment, the need to preserve liquidity and the resulting reduction in capital available to invest in its high-quality assets..."

Dividends were suspended on the 6% Series A and B convertible preferred stock for the third quarter. The company plans to re-evaluate the payment policy on a quarterly basis.

"The suspension of quarterly dividends does not affect the company's business operations and does not cause an event of default under any of its debt agreements," management said.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is one of the only big onshore independents to date that has eliminated its dividend to redirect cash to capital spending (see Shale DailyJuly 21).

Over the past few months, however, more operators have been notified by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that their share prices have fallen below $1.00 (see Shale DailySept. 8July 27). Other companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see related story).

Penn Virginia said it plans to notify the NYSE by Sept. 28 "that it intends to cure the deficiency and to return to compliance" under continued listing requirements. The company has six months to regain compliance with the minimum share price requirement, but it "may have additional time if shareholder approval is needed for any of its planned steps."

The share price was down at about 81 cents early Thursday afternoon.

In June, Penn Virginia shareholder Lone Star Value Management LLC (2.8%) called for a strategic review to explore "all credible proposals" for the company (see Shale DailyJune 26).

The producer recorded a net loss in 1Q2015 of almost $424 million (minus $5.90/share), which included almost $668 million on impairments (see Shale Daily,May 13).

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