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囚住野猫 切萨皮克能源

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Business

商业
Chesapeake energy
切萨皮克能源
Caging a wildcat
囚住野猫
Shareholders curb Aubrey McClendon
股东限制奥布里·麦克兰登的权力
"WILDCAT" was once American slang for risky business; then it was applied specifically to drilling for oil or gas in virgin land. Either way, it fits Aubrey McClendon, the boss of Chesapeake Energy. Since co-founding the firm in 1989, the tall Oklahoman has overseen the acquisition of vast tracts of land and found oodles of natural gas under it. As Chesapeake became America's second-largest natural-gas producer, Mr McClendon became the face of fracking, a gas-extraction technique hated by greens.
"野猫"本是美国俚语,意指高风险商业活动。后来专指在未开垦的土地上开采石油或天然气。这两种解释都适用于切萨皮克能源公司奥布里?麦克兰登。自从1989年与合伙人一同创立该公司,这个高大的俄克拉荷马州人就一直监管土地收购业务,使公司获得了大量土地并在地下发现了丰富油气资源。随着切克披萨成长为美国第二大天然气生产企业,Mr McClendon也成为"水力压裂"形象代言人,这是一项令环保人士痛恨的天然气提取技术。
More recently Mr McClendon has enraged shareholder activists. On May 1st they clipped his wings. While remaining chief executive, Mr McClendon will give up the chair of Chesapeake to someone independent. Shareholders hope this will stiffen the spine of a boss-friendly board. Mr McClendon will also negotiate the scrapping, by 2014, of a programme by which he was allowed to buy a 2.5% stake in every new well drilled by his company.
最近,Mr McClendon触怒了股东中的激进分子。 这些人于5月1日剥夺了Mr McClendon对公司的控制权。尽管保住了首席执行官的位子,Mr McClendon还是要将董事长职位让位于某个独立的第三方。股东们希望此举能够让原本对总裁过于友好的董事会可以挺起脊梁 。同时,Mr McClendon将商议于2014年废除一向(激励)项目,在该项目中Mr McClendon有权在公司开采的所有新油井中占有2.5%的股份。
Mr McClendon has long argued that this unusual arrangement was in the best interests of shareholders. "You could say I'm the only CEO in America who truly participates alongside his company in the day-to-day business activity on the same basis as the company," he told Forbes last year. Presumably he believes that his incentives will now become less well-aligned. Many shareholders disagree.
一直以来,Mr McClendon坚持认为这项不寻常的安排是为了实现股东的最大利益。去年在福布斯的采访中,Mr McClendon说"你可是说我是美国唯一一个真正参与公司日常商业事务,并与公司站在同一立场的CEO。"事到如今,大概他也认为这项激励措施使他与公司的立场并不一致。(可是)许多股东对这一点并不认可。
As Chesapeake has grown, so has Mr McClendon's appetite for debt to finance his stakes in wells. (To avoid cherry-picking, he was obliged to invest in all of each year's new ones, or none at all.) In the first year of the programme, according to the Wall Street Journal, the firm drilled 19 wells; last year it was around 1,700, and Mr McClendon had to stump up over $457m.
切萨皮克能源公司的逐步发展,Mr McClendon对资本的胃口也越来越大,他不断通过借贷来为购买油井股票融资。(为了避免挑选行为惹人注目,他不得不对每年的新开发的天然气井全部投资或者全都不投)。据华尔街日报报道,在该项激励计划实施的第一年,公司开发了19个天然气井,到2011年,公司天然气井数量约为1700个,Mr McClendon为此需要支付4.57亿美元。
He did this mostly by borrowing: he admits to personal debts of $846m. In 2008, as natural-gas prices plunged along with the firm's market capitalisation, he had to sell most of his shares in Chesapeake to repay debts. The following June, the board gave him a special $75m bonus to invest in the well programme, while suspending the requirement that he own shares in the firm worth five times his annual salary. This generous move was what first stoked the ire of shareholder activists.
Mr McClendon主要靠借贷来支付这笔钱,他承认自己负有高达8.46亿美元的个人债务。2008年,随着市值缩水天然气价格大跌,他不得不卖掉自己持有的大部分公司股票来偿还债务。2009年6月,董事会拨给他价值7500万美元的特殊津贴来投资天然气井项目,同时,他必须持有相当于其年工资五倍的公司股票的这一强制要求也被取消。这种大方的举动第一次激怒了股东中的激进分子。
Hedge funds short-selling Chesapeake's shares talk of "red flags" that suggest trouble ahead. For example, the board is looking into reports that Mr McClendon borrowed money from financial firms that had a business relationship with Chesapeake. The firm also disclosed that the taxman was looking at the well programme as part of an audit. On May 2nd, Mr McClendon complained that "a great deal of misinformation" has been published.
对冲基金卖空切萨皮克股票被人们视为"前方危险"的警告。例如,董事会正在调查的一份报告指出:Mr McClendon从一些与切萨皮克公司有业务关系的金融公司借款。切萨皮克公司也披露税务部门正打算将油气井激励计划(涉及的资产)纳入审计范围。5月2日,McClendon对此表示不满,声称公开报道中含有"大量虚假信息"。
To have a boss with such big debts looks risky. Did the board know the details? This much is clear: neither the board nor shareholders can claim they were unaware of the programme that let Mr McClendon invest in new wells, which has existed since the firm went public in 1993.
公司总裁负债累累,这看上去不妙。董事会是否了解其中细节?答案很明显:董事会和股东都无法宣称他们对这项允许McClendon投资新油井的激励计划毫不知情,(事实上)自从1993年公司上市,该计划就已经存在了。
As the forthcoming flotation of Facebook may show, investors are often willing to overlook weak corporate governance when offered the chance to buy shares in a newly listed firm run by a brilliant entrepreneur. The turmoil at Chesapeake should remind them:caveat emptor.
FACEBOOK上市前的一系列事件也许可以反映出投资者的误区——当一家由天才企业家经营的公司刚刚上市时,投资者在获得机会购买该公司股票的同时却忽视了公司管理中的薄弱之处。发生在切萨皮克能源公司的混乱局面也是对这类投资者们的提醒:一经出售,概不负责。

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