Black Stone Minerals LP on July 27 said it completed its previously announced asset sales with cash proceeds of about $150 million boosting cash returns to shareholders of the Houston-based company.
In a June release, Black Stone Minerals previously announced entering into two separate agreements to sell certain mineral and royalty properties from its position in the Permian Basin. The larger of the two agreements—worth about $100 million—involves Pegasus Resources LLC, a portfolio company of EnCap Investments LP.
On July 21, the company closed on the sale to Pegasus of undivided interests across parts of Black Stone’s Delaware and Midland Basin positions. The effective date of the transaction was July 1.
The second sale, comprised of mineral and royalty interests in specific tracts in Midland County, Texas, within the Midland Basin to a private buyer, was scheduled to close on July 28. The company anticipated total consideration for the Midland Basin transaction to be $54.5 million after customary closing adjustments.
Proceeds from the asset sales will be used to accelerate Black Stone Minerals’ debt reduction goals by paying down the balance outstanding on the company’s revolving credit facility.
Following the asset sales, the company expects total debt outstanding at the end of July to be approximately $160 million, a reduction of $234 million from the $394 million of total debt as of year-end 2019, according to the its release.
As a result of the company’s debt reduction efforts year-to-date, the board of directors of Black Stone Minerals’ general partner approved a cash distribution for common units attributable to the second quarter of 2020 of $0.15 per unit, representing an 88% increase from the distribution attributable to first-quarter 2020.
Thomas L. Carter Jr., chairman and CEO of Black Stone Minerals, said the company’s board felt comfortable increasing the payout ratio given the the significant debt reduction so far this year as well as its strong commodity hedge position.
“We are pleased to return more cash to our unitholders this quarter through higher distributions despite the ongoing challenges facing the energy industry. ... We will continue to balance our conservative focus on debt levels with the objective to deliver further distribution increases as industry conditions improve,” Carter said in a statement on July 27.
One of the largest mineral owners in the U.S., Black Stone Minerals has a portfolio of mineral and royalty interests across 41 states with concentrated positions in the Permian Basin, Haynesville and Bakken shale.
Earlier this year, the company made the decision to slash its dividend after shut-ins and curtailed activity announced by U.S. shale producers created near-term uncertainty for the mineral and royalty business. On April 22, Black Stone Minerals said the reduction to its distributions was the result of its board’s decision to increase the amount of retained free cash flow for debt reduction and balance sheet protection.
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