April 8, 2020 / 3:08 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. energy firm Denbury Resources hires bank for debt advice -sources

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - Denbury Resources Inc, a U.S. energy producer which specializes in bolstering well productivity with carbon dioxide, has hired investment bank Evercore Inc to advise on managing its $2.3 billion debt pile, people familiar with the matter said.

Denbury has been struggling with plummeting oil prices and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, it said it would cut its 2020 capital expenditure budget by 44%, warning it could trim the figure further if storage or takeaway capacity was restricted.

The Plano, Texas-based company has tapped Evercore for advice on handling its debt, the sources said, stressing a debt restructuring is not imminent.

Denbury did not respond to a request for comment. Evercore declined to comment.

An oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and a steep fall in demand for petroleum amid the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown have pushed many North American energy producers into bankruptcy or debt restructurings.

Operating along the U.S. Gulf coast and in the Rocky Mountains region, Denbury uses a technique called enhanced oil recovery (EOR), where carbon dioxide is pumped into older wells as a way to flush out more of the hydrocarbons that other production methods struggle to extract.

The company has $615 million of bonds with a 9% coupon due in May 2021, that are currently trading at 18 cents on the dollar, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, indicating investor concerns about the viability of its finances.

Denbury had $527.8 million of liquidity available at the end of 2019, according to a regulatory filing.

“Denbury will likely need external financing to refinance the 2021 maturities, since the revolver availability and internal sources of cash will not be sufficient to address the maturities,” credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said last month.

Last week, Denbury’s board approved a reverse stock split to comply with stock market listing rules. Its stock had not closed above $1 per share since Feb. 6.

Denbury last year abandoned a deal to acquire Penn Virginia Corp for $1.7 billion, including debt. The two companies cited challenging market conditions and opposition from some Penn Virginia shareholders as reasons for terminating their merger agreement. (Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

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