- Urges Shareholders to Vote Today “FOR” All 12 of EQT’s Director Nominees on the GOLD Universal Proxy Card
PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) today announced that it has mailed a letter to shareholders reviewing the strong operational and financial performance delivered by the Company’s new Board of Directors and management team. EQT’s letter stands in stark contrast with the recent nominee Q&A published by the Toby Rice Group, which was devoid of facts and relied on misleading, dated tropes about EQT.
“The comments by the Toby Rice nominees reveal a startling lack of insight into EQT’s operations and confirm that they do not understand that a significant transformation has already taken place at EQT,” said Rob McNally, EQT president and chief executive officer. “Despite having limited knowledge of EQT’s current operations, it is clear the Toby Rice nominees are solely committed to pursuing Toby’s vision to control EQT rather than thoughtfully evaluating the Company’s operations and exercising independent judgment. Shareholders will be best served by electing directors that will act only on an informed basis and in the best interests of ALL EQT shareholders instead of being beholden to one man and one idea.”
Highlights of EQT’s letter to shareholders include:
- Since EQT’s refreshed Board and management team assumed control in the fourth quarter of 2018, they have taken aggressive actions to transform EQT, optimizing lateral lengths, spacing and operating cadence, while reducing costs.
- The Company’s ambitious new strategic plan is working, as demonstrated by the tremendous progress achieved to date:
- 45% year-over-year improvement in rig move efficiency (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18);
- 25% reduction in drilling days / 1,000 ft vs. Q4’18;
- 40% improvement in frac crew moves (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18); and
- 70% reduction in completion non-productive time (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18).
- EQT is now among the Appalachian Basin’s low-cost leaders. The Company’s operational efficiency makes it a free cash flow machine.
- EQT has already delivered more than $300 million in adjusted free cash flow(1) over the past two quarters, and reduced net debt by approximately $500 million.
- The Company is on track to achieve $300 to $400 million in adjusted free cash flow(1) in 2019, and at least $2.9 billion of adjusted free cash flow(1) through 2023.
- Strong fundamentals and superior operating results are driving increased value for shareholders.
- No Appalachian peer has outperformed EQT since the refreshed Board and management team assumed control following the spin-off of Equitrans Midstream Corporation from EQT.
The EQT Board recommends that shareholders support the EQT team and strategy that are delivering results by voting on the GOLD universal proxy card “FOR” EQT’s 12 highly qualified director nominees.
The full text of the letter to shareholders follows below:
June 3, 2019
Dear Fellow EQT Shareholder:
Over the last six months, EQT Corporation’s (“EQT” or the “Company”) refreshed Board of Directors (the “Board”) and leadership team have significantly improved the Company’s financial and operational performance and transformed EQT into the premier, pure-play Appalachian exploration and production (“E&P”) company.
As the Company’s recent outperformance and last two quarterly results demonstrate, EQT’s ambitious plan is working. Management is delivering cost savings, increasing operational and capital efficiencies and achieving aggressive targets, including substantial increases in productivity, efficiencies and adjusted free cash flow. As a result, EQT is now among the Appalachian Basin’s low-cost leaders – enabling the Company to continue delivering free cash flow growth.
However, notwithstanding the new EQT leadership’s rapid progress, a group led by Toby Z. Rice and Derek A. Rice (the “Toby Rice Group”) seeks to take control of the Board at this year’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders in order to make wholesale changes to our leadership team. We believe that Toby Rice is singularly focused on installing himself as CEO and irresponsibly packing the Board and management team with his friends and family, which would disrupt EQT’s strong momentum and be value-destructive.
We urge you to vote for EQT’s refreshed Board and leadership team, which are already achieving strong results for our shareholders, by voting today on the GOLD universal proxy card “FOR” EQT’s 12 director nominees.
THE NEW EQT IS DELIVERING INDUSTRY-LEADING FREE CASH FLOW
Since EQT’s refreshed Board and management team assumed control in the fourth quarter of 2018, we have taken decisive and aggressive steps to transform EQT. We set out to optimize lateral lengths, spacing and operating cadence – while reducing costs – and, while there is more work to do, we have made tremendous progress to date:
— 45% year-over-year improvement in rig move efficiency (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18);
— 25% reduction in drilling days / 1,000 ft vs. Q4’18;
— 40% improvement in frac crew moves (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18); and
— 70% reduction in completion non-productive time (Q1’19 vs. Q1’18).
Our rapid progress in improving EQT’s operational efficiency has re-positioned the Company as a free cash flow machine. EQT has already delivered more than $300 million in adjusted free cash flow(1) over the past two quarters, and reduced net debt by approximately $500 million, positioning the new EQT as an industry free cash flow leader.
Over the last two quarters, EQT has outperformed 26 of 27 comparable U.S. E&P peers in terms of free cash flow generation. We also expect EQT to deliver $300 to $400 million of adjusted free cash flow(1) in 2019, which is forecasted to be higher than 90% of EQT’s peers based on IBES consensus estimates. (Please refer to Chart 1.)
Building on progress to date in 2019, EQT is on track to deliver $2.9 billion of adjusted free cash flow(1) – representing 60% to 70% of our current market capitalization – over the next five years. Further upside is expected from the Company’s Target 10% Initiative, under which we expect to realize significant additional cost savings. These cost savings will come from areas including materials and services sourcing and contracting, additional water logistics and process improvements, commercial portfolio and scheduling optimization and further elimination of operational redundancy.
If fully realized, the Target 10% Initiative is expected to further raise EQT’s 2019 to 2023 cumulative adjusted free cash flow by $500 million to approximately $3.4 billion.(1) Your Board and management team are confident we have the right team in place and are taking the right steps to maximize shareholder value. (Please refer to Chart 2.)
STRONG FUNDAMENTALS AND SUPERIOR OPERATING RESULTS ARE DELIVERING INCREASED VALUE TO SHAREHOLDERS
Despite a difficult market, including commodity price headwinds, EQT has significantly outperformed peers’ total return to shareholders, demonstrating that the market is appreciating – and rewarding – the decisive actions taken by EQT’s Board and leadership team.
In fact, no Appalachian peer has outperformed EQT since the refreshed Board and management team assumed control following the spin-off of Equitrans Midstream Corporation in November 2018.
The Company’s remarkable progress underscores that the EQT Board and management team are embracing constructive disruption when it will yield improved results. EQT has successfully implemented tangible and significant changes that are responsibly and meaningfully driving performance improvement and value creation at EQT. (Please refer to Chart 3.)
THE RICE TEAM HAS NEVER GENERATED POSITIVE FREE CASH FLOW
In contrast to the new EQT’s Board’s and management team’s proven ability to deliver results, the Toby Rice Group does not have experience running a company with EQT’s scale. In fact, Rice Energy never produced positive annual free cash flow while operating as a public company. Instead, Rice Energy burned through approximately $5 billion of capital from 2012 through the third quarter of 2017.
At the time, Rice Energy was an emerging growth company that prioritized drilling its best acreage to boost short-term production volumes. Now, Toby Rice wants shareholders to believe that he can not only operate a company that is substantially different and much larger, but also deliver free cash flow at EQT – something he never achieved at Rice Energy.
Simply put, the new EQT is focused on free cash flow generation – an area in which Toby Rice has no experience.
We think the Toby Rice Group’s claim that it can deliver an incremental $500 million in free cash flow from EQT’s plan is fictional and not credible. This claim is not supported by facts and is undermined by their own historical operating results.
In contrast, EQT’s Board and management team are focused on delivering returns and free cash flow and are already delivering strong results. Under the new Board and management team, we are confident EQT will continue to outperform its Appalachian peers.
We believe the choice is clear:
Support the EQT team and the strategy that is delivering positive results by voting on the GOLD universal proxy card “FOR” EQT’s 12 director nominees; or
|✖||Give up control of EQT to the Toby Rice Group, which is deeply conflicted and promises unrealistic free cash flow targets despite NEVER having generated positive free cash flow at Rice Energy.|
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT BY SUPPORTING THE EQT BOARD AND MANAGEMENT TEAM, WHICH ARE SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERING OUTSTANDING RESULTS
Your vote is extremely important. EQT’s independent nominees are aligned with the interests of EQT shareholders, and we believe they are better suited to continue to oversee EQT’s successful transformation. A vote for EQT’s 12 director nominees on the GOLD universal proxy card is a vote to support the ongoing successful execution of EQT’s proven cash flow plan and future value creation.
We urge you to vote today by telephone, internet or by signing, dating and returning the enclosed GOLD universal proxy card in the postage-paid envelope provided.
On behalf of your Board of Directors, thank you for your support.
THE INDEPENDENT MEMBERS OF THE EQT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
|If you have any questions, or need assistance in voting|
your shares on the GOLD universal proxy card,
please call EQT’s proxy solicitor:
|INNISFREE M&A INCORPORATED|
|TOLL-FREE at 1-877-687-1866 (from the U.S. or Canada)|
|Or at (412) 232-3651 (From Other Locations)|
Please discard and do NOT vote using any white proxy cards you may
About EQT Corporation:
EQT Corporation is a natural gas production company with emphasis in the Appalachian Basin and operations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. With 130 years of experience and a long-standing history of good corporate citizenship, EQT is the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. As a leader in the use of advanced horizontal drilling technology, EQT is committed to minimizing the impact of drilling-related activities and reducing its overall environmental footprint. Through safe and responsible operations, EQT is helping to meet our nation’s demand for clean-burning energy, while continuing to provide a rewarding workplace and support for activities that enrich the communities where its employees live and work. Visit EQT Corporation at www.EQT.com; and to learn more about EQT’s sustainability efforts, please visit https://csr.eqt.com.
EQT Management speaks to investors from time to time and the analyst presentation for these discussions, which is updated periodically, is available via the Company’s investor relationship website at ir.eqt.com.