Atmos Seeks Cash After Spending Billions on Gas Amid Freeze

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Atmos Energy Corp., a U.S. distributor of natural gas, is looking to raise cash after committing to spend as much as $3.5 billion to secure fuel during last week’s unprecedented winter freeze.

The financial squeeze illustrates the turmoil caused by a chronic shortage of gas in Texas and other states after sub-zero temperatures froze up wells and pipelines. Prices at delivery hubs surged to hundreds of times their normal levels after buyers scrambled to secure supplies.

Atmos, with 3 million customers in eight states, said in a filing late Friday that it’s “evaluating a number of financing alternatives including available cash, short-term debt, long-term debt, and equity.”

“Unforeseeable and unprecedented” market pricing for gas costs in Colorado, Kansas, and Texas, led to gas purchases of approximately $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion, Dallas-based Atmos said. The bills will fall due by the end of March.

The company maintained its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year at $4.90 to $5.10 per share. The stock dropped 3.2% to $90.56 at 9:40 a.m. in New York trading.

Atmos is one of many energy companies to be caught up in the market volatility caused by the extreme cold. Germany’s RWE SE faces a hit of hundreds of millions of euros, it said last week.

Gas suppliers whose wells kept flowing reaped super-sized profits. Comstock Resources Inc., a driller controlled by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, said it had been able to sell gas from its fields in east Texas and Louisiana at “super-premium” prices.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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