Peyto Exploration & Development Corp – Canadian Cowboys or “Outsider” company ? (part 1)

A few days ago, I linked to a shareholder letter where the CEO of the Canadian NatGas Fracking company Peyto discussed his opinion on the book “The outsiders”.

As some readers might have noticed, I started to look into the energy sector some time ago. First reading some books (Exxon, The Frackers) and a quick look into Cheniere Energy, the NatGAs liquification play.

As I try to expand my knowledge in the energy sector and a CEO reading and discussing “The Outsiders” made me very curious, I started to read the CEO’s monthly letters (going back to December 2006). They are 2-3 pages reports which cover various topics. Although some things are repeated, the information content was extremely high.

I found myself reading report after report until I had read all 105 (!!) of them (you’ll find notes on the memo at the end of the post).. I found them fascinating for 3 main reasons:

1. The memos are a “treasure trove” of knowledge about the energy industry and NAtGas drilling
2. The philosophy of the CEO and the company can be followed and verified over a pretty long time
3. The monthly reports also reflect the significant changes in the industry f

Before reading the reports, I thought that I understand E&P companies maybe to a degree of 80%, now after reading those reports I know that my knowledge was closer to 8% or so….

Here are my key take-aways:

+ The CEO likes Warren BUffett and quotes him a lot
+ half of the reports are about capital allocation
+ the company is purely IRR (ROCE/ROE) driven
+ cost advantage (type of wells, build instead of buy, full control of production, efficient land buying etc.)
+ the company runs a very countercyclical strategy similar to TGS Nopec: Drill when costs are low, not when NatGas prices are high and everyone is drilling
+ energy prices are impossible to forecast even for professionals
+ big influence of weather conditions, both on consumption and drilling
+ very “lean” company (only 46 employees despite full control over production)
+ Pure play NatGas E&P, very transparent costs
+ even the CEO didn’t fully grasp the impact of horizontal fracking for the overall market

Some people are not so impressed by Peyto, as for instance this short thesis from 2012 from VIC shows.

The “Canadian Value Investing” blog has some good posts on PEyto:–peyto-energy-part-1

And Peyto has a real cool company logo:

The story behind the logo and the name can be found on the Peyto hompage.

Peyto looks like a very special company with a very special CEO. The memos are great educational material for anyone interested in the energy sector. At some later point I will follow up with a valuation exercise, but for now, Peyto will clearly be on my watch list.

Finally a question to my readers: Is anyone aware of other companies where the CEO writes regular (monthly) letters in a similar way ?

Appendix: Notes to all monthly CEO reports

1. Dec 2006
Explains Peyto’s type of wells: Unconventional “Tight” wells with long lives (20-30 years). CEO thinks 6 CAD is bottom for nat gas prices. Drilling less as costs are too high.

2. Jan 2007
Explains value driver of unconventional nat gas wells. Explains fundamental relationship between Nat Gas prices and oil prices (Oil should trade 6:1, currently at 37/3 !!!). Historically, Peyto made 2,4 times its investment on any drilled well

3. Feb 2007
About reserve valuation and performance based compensation. Unique feature of Peyto:

The Reserve Value Based award is quite unique in the oil
and gas industry. We feel it is aligned with the unit holder’s
long term objective of increasing the discounted Proven
Producing Net Asset Value (NAV) of the company. NAV is
the most important parameter
that we manage. Since the
company was founded in 1998, efficient growth in NAV has
been our ultimate goal. In order to grow the Proven
Producing NAV we must focus on smart capital allocation,
high return on capital, low operating cost, high asset quality,
and low risk

4. Mar 2007
Description of a couple of terms used for valuing reserves. Still low drilling activity because of high drilling costs.

5. Apr 2007
Definition of Investor Recycle Ratio:
Investor Recycle Ratio = Q4 2013 Netback/boe divided by Dec 31/13 Enterprise Value/PDP (??????)

6. May 2007
Explains Peytos cost advantage: Low royalties due to specific incentives, low costs because of specific type of gas and reservoirs (no water handling for instance)

7. June 2007
On sustainability of the business model (as a trust)

8. July 2007
Description of different “unconventional” nat gas formations and how Peyto actually drills and operates wells. Increasing activity as rig prices fall

9. Aug 2007
Discussing break even levels and IRR sensitivity to Nat gas prices

10. Sep 2007
A few insights on taxation and capital allocation

11. Oct 2007
A rant on royalty payments

12. Nov 2007
More on royalties and impact on IRR

13. Dec 2007
Decline rates explained

14. Jan 2008
Company structure, Oil, Nat gas prices

15. Feb 2008
Environmental impact, cost comparison to US frackers. Optimistic on nat gas prices

16. Mar 2008
Cost & NAV development (low investment in 2007)

17. Apr 2008
On hedging & Discount rates Quote:

For someone wanting to buy oil and gas assets or
shares/units in a company with oil and gas assets, the
relative risk between producers should definitely be
considered. A producer with more predictable recovery
should deserve a lower “discount rate” than one with a higher
risk of recovery. The recovery risk of reserves that are
produced out of a tight gas reservoir, for instance, that will
“bleed out” for more than 50 years, is significantly different
from the risk of some high deliverability reservoir that is of
unknown size and could water out tomorrow. Also, a
producer with a lower and more controlled cost structure
should deserve a lower discount factor than one with a
higher uncontrolled cost structure.

18. May 2008
On corporate strcuture, taxes.


In the past, the oil and gas industry has been guilty of low
returns on capital employed (ROCE) by taking too much
exploration risk while trying to minimize the taxes paid on
cash flow.
“Why not roll the dice on a very risky exploration
well, if the funds are just goi
ng to be sent to Ottawa anyway
(to line the pockets of some ad agency)? We can just write-
off the dry hole against our other income!”
The trust model, if nothing else, has demonstrated to us that
by having a choice between re-investment and payout,
allows us to be more critical
of the re-investment decision,
ensuring better capital allocation.

19. Jun 2006
Capital allocation: Distribution vs. capital spending vs. debt repayment

20. July 2008
Organic growth vs. M&A vs share buy back


Paying too much for a developed asset just to get your
hands on some drilling inventory doesn’t seem logical to me.
It ties up significant capital and doesn’t create any
incremental reserves or production. Whereas patiently
pursuing the upside and development of undrilled resources
thereby creating incremental production and reserves
delivers much greater returns. Failing that, one can buy back
into the existing producing reserves and upside of Peyto for
an equivalent efficiency of most trusts with all the upside of
high quality, long life natural gas assets.

21. Aug 2008


I’m also a bit skeptical of shale gas saving the day.
Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely proven itself, but its
producing profile is very simila
r to the tight gas that Peyto
develops. It has high initial rates, followed by steep early
time decline, followed by long life, low rate, and low decline
production (see Figure 1 below). Ultimately, it is a nice
resource, but a very tough treadmill in the early going. More
and more wells and greater and greater amounts of capital
have to be invested to keep the total production rate

22. Sep 2008

Royalty optimisation (restricted capacity at the beginning)

23. Oct 2008
How to interpret yields of unit trusts (and MLPs).

What this rate of return exercise demonstrates is that a unit
price derived yield can be very misleading if not supported by
real asset value.

24. Nov 2008
10 year anniversarie. Buffett Quote:

Warren Buffet says
“Only when the tide goes out do you
discover who’s been swimming naked.”
Arguably, the tide is
now out, way out. And those that cannot sustain their
businesses on the cash they generate will be hard pressed in
this environment. Debt is currently unavailable and nobody
wants to issue equity at these pric
es. In fact, if carrying debt
wasn’t quite so concerning, using it to buy back one’s own
stock would be very appealing. But, we need to remind
ourselves that Peyto’s opportunities have always resided in
the ground, not the market.

25. Dec 2008
Return on capital vs. return of capital

26. Jan 2009
Profit vs. Growth

Secondly, profit generated on capital investments may not
always result in growth. Growth depends on individual
decline profiles, the pace of capital investment levels and
industry activity levels. If you always want profit, you must be
prepared to only invest at ti
mes when profit can be had. If
you are strictly chasing growth,
you must continue to invest
whether the time is right or not. That doesn’t always mean
you are being profitable.

27. Feb 2009
Skin in the game, distributions, equity issuance

28. Mar 2009
Competitive advantages, cost structure chart Peyto & competition

29. Apr 2009
Peer Group comparisons

30.May 2009
Price low point for nat gas. Impact of royalties on IRRs

The evidence of supply reducti
ons; not just reduced drilling
activity but of existing production being shut-in, should start
to emerge and help ease the downward pressure on prices.
The only problem is that the r
eal production data is months
behind. By the time we see it, the industry may have over-
corrected the balance.

31. June/July</a
On test rates vs. real returns. My comment: Did capital increase in June at very low prices. No explanation geiven (Legal reasons ?)

32. Aug 2009
Cash sources and uses, explanation for cap increase:


Most energy companies are idling,
trying to gauge when gas prices will recover –
not if
, but
when. At Peyto, we’ve taken the opposite approach; raising
capital in a depressed market in order to get busy and build
assets accretive enough to overcome any discount to NAV,
and at a time when costs are at historically low levels. As of
August, we have 3 drilling rigs running with the most recent
drilling costs coming in 20-25% below Q4 2008 levels.

34. Sep 2009
Horizontal fracking explained (theoretically 8 times amount of vertical)

35. October 2009
Horizontal fracking follow up

36. Nov 2009
Market & cost updates, oil to gas ratio at 20x vs. 8x avg. and 6x fundamental

37. Dec 2009
IRR and depletion

38. Jan 2010
Natgas heat content explained (Peyto’shas 10% more than average)

39. Feb 2010
Comment on long term trends and Exxon XTO take over

40. Mar 2010
On differences in cost calculation US vs. Canada

41. Apr 2010
Low cost finding vs low cost producing —> need to be both !!

42. May 2010
High investments because of low service costs, taxes, corporate structure, reinvestment discipline

43. June 2010
Some thoughts on growth, assuming dividends were used to buy more shares, “Grow -sell” business models

44. July 2010
Capital efficiency

So there are 3 variables that control future growth potential:
1. Base decline
2. Size of capital program
3. Capital efficiency
Using these variables one can then project how production
growth might or might not occur in the future.

Generally speaking, if you focus on returns, and manage to
achieve them, more often than not growth also happens.
However, if you focus solely on growth and forget about
returns, you can sometimes achieve it, while not generating
any return at all. Profitless growth. It’s worthless, and yet
oftentimes is mistakenly rewarded by the market.

45. Aug 2010
Look back at history of Peyto

46. Sep 2010
NAV and cost inflation

Net Asset Value (NAV) is definitely the most accurate way to
assess what a company is worth and should ultimately
dictate what it should sell for in the market. But it has to be
done correctly and any future predictions of cashflow need to
reflect the reality of changing costs and revenues that have
occurred in the past. Long life and low cost assets are
definitely worth more, so long as they stay that way. Rapidly
escalating costs can change that value significantly if you’re
not careful. This is why careful investors pay close attention
to them.

47. Oct 2010

On land and expiries

At Peyto, we’ve deployed more of a “just in time” land
strategy. One that focuses on “drilling islands” located in the
sweet spots of the play. So rather than run out and try to
mop up all the land across a given play, we try to use our
geotechnical expertise to identify the best parts of the play
and then target only those lands. In doing so, we have less
land maintenance costs than many of our competitors and
carry a lot less “moose pasture” in inventory. Even the big
shale players will admit that every play has its sweet spot.
And the “shoot, ready, aim” approach that many have
employed, is not as good as aiming first.

Of course, our strategy comes at a price. As plays become
more competitive, or as Peyto’s success become s more well-
known in a given play, the lands can be harder to come by.
Sometimes, one of the only ways around those issues is
patience. Either waiting for the lands to eventually turn over,
or waiting for someone to eventually do a deal on the lands.
That’s why it’s important to keep track of the opportunities
and stay focused on the prize. Surprisingly, many companies
don’t. They either get caught up in the “play of the day” and
follow the rest of the industry around bidding it up, or shuffle
up their technical staff, always bringing in fresh eyes who fail
to keep watch on the existing opportunities. Partly that is
driven by their corporate strategy. If your corporate strategy
is to amass, promote and then liquidate, you approach things
differently than if it’s to invest, develop and profit.

48. Nov 2010

“Hard floor ” for NatGas prices

In reality, there is a hard floor for gas prices. And it may not
be the price to add new production that defines it. Instead I
think we should just simply look at the basic costs to produce
it. The cash costs, if you will. Typically, cash costs are def
ined by the operating costs, transportation costs, royalty co
sts and the corporate costs, including G&A, interest and taxes

Comparison of cash costs:. Note to myself: Check Peer Group

49. Dec 2010
On LNG exports

50. Jan 2011
Conversion from Trust to Corp (mainly because of Trust tacation)

51. Feb 2011
A look at ROCE and ROE

52. Mar 2011
Short discusssion of Buffett’s annual shareholder letter, market transaction prices for reserves, (big spread)

53. Apr 2011
Several valuation multiples (NAV, CF, undeveloped land/undeveloped reserves)

54. May 2011
Company growth vs. decline rate

55. June 2011
Thoughts on growth for E&P companies

56. July 2011
Land sales

57. Aug 2011
Fracking – environmental aspects

58. Sep 2011
Deep Basin peer group:

A group of focused producers including Peyto,
Paramount, Trilogy, Tourmaline, Celtic, Cequence, and
Delphi, for instance, make up Stifel, Nicolas & Co.’s “Deep
Basin Basket” and have significantly outperformed the
Commodities, an index of E&P equities, and the S&P/TSX
index over the last nine months. Perhaps that’s for good
reason, considering the liquids rich, natural gas resource
plays of the Deep Basin can offer some attractive returns in
the current gas and liquids price environment. Especially
when you are able to bring the advantage of horizontal mutli-
stage frac well technology to bear on the many tight
sandstone reservoirs, as Peyto has done. Figure 1 shows
how this basket of stocks has performed since last fall
relative to those indexes (Nov 2010).

59. Oct 2011
How to interpret flow test data

When you read that a Montney well, for instance, was testing
at 15 mmcf/d with 50 bbl/mmcf of NGLs in some company’s
operational update, and that’s all the information you get, you
really have to discard that information as meaningless. There
are just too many questions left unanswered that are
required to put that test into context. Consider, for example,
the following:
1. A multi stage fracture of a typical horizontal well can use
5,000-6,000 kilowatt hours of energy to put the frac into
the formation. How long before that artifically enhanced
drive is gone and the true reservoir drive is
experienced? Sometimes its actually the poorest
reservoir quality that initially flows back the fastest.
2. Of the fluids tested, how much is fracture fluid; either
water or oil? Do the rates include the N2 and CO2 that is
added to the frac fluid for energy? Often times the early
time data is mostly frac fluid (or gases) coming back.
3. What is the flowing pressure of the well relative to the
reservoir pressure and abandonment pressure? In other
words, is the well producing at it’s maximum capability
or just a fraction of it.
4. How quickly will that near wellbore flow rate decline to
reach a steady state flow rate, as supported by the
surrounding reservoir rock?
5. What is the captial cost to drill, complete, equip and tie
in that well relative to any other well?
6. What are the op costs/royalties the well will have to pay?
7. What components of the production need to be removed
and disposed before sales? What is that cost?
8. What is the typical drainage area that the well can be
expected to drain and how much recoverable reserves
are in that area?
9. How long will it take to get the well tied in and on
stream, producing revenue?
10. How long to recover the capital investment and what is
the value left to recover after that payout?

60. Nov 2011
Recycle ratio, net back. Subdued outlook on energy prices due to oversupply

For instance, if we divide our Q2 2011 cash netback of
$24/boe by the FD&A cost of $12/boe, then we determine
that we should make $2 for every $1 we invest or $12 on
every barrel we develop and sell. Pretty simple, except that it
doesn’t tell us how long it will take to get our cash back. If we
divide the capital efficiency of $17,300/boe/d by the $24/boe
netback we get 720 days or about 2 years to get our money
back. Between the two simple calculations, we get a sense
of how much and how quickly we get cash back (and how
much is left to get after we do). Looking at those two
numbers over time we can see how Peyto was doing
historically, even with changing commodity prices

61. Dec 2011
low cost competitor Ultra (Ultra is highly leveraged…). Lean structure, “gas for ass” ratio 😉

One of the things that surprise s potential investors when I tell
them about Peyto for the first time is how few employees we
have. They are confused by how we can possibly run a $3
billion dollar market cap company with just 35 employees
Especially considering that we are a very active operator

62. Jan 2012
Explains composition of Nat Gas, especially liquid parts at low temperatures

63. Feb 2012
Nat Gas price reaches 2 USD

Of course, everyone knows these are not sustainable natural
gas prices. But the question now becomes, who blinks first.
Logically, the higher cost, leaner gas production should be
the first to shut in. Coalbed methane, with its de-watering
costs and large compression requirement is likely first. Then
low pressure, dry gas. Then sour gas with its high cost for
removal and disposal. Then gas reservoirs that produce
water but have risks associated with re-starting and reserves
recovery. And lastly, natural gas with significant associated
natural gas liquids. Especially condensate that attracts a
premium to oil. I supposed solution gas associated with oil
production is really the last to turn out the lights, but those
volumes are really tied to oil prices more than gas prices.

64. March 2012
Value creation 2011 explained

65. April 2012
Ultra low prices due to mild winter, who will stop producing first ?

66. May 2012
Value of time

As expected the service companies are anticipating a
significant slowdown after breakup and are starting to offer
“Summer Specials” for those willing to put their capital to
work. But only certain services will be so eager to negotiate.
Some, that can transition over to the light oil or the oil sands
side of the business will likely just move. Truckers, pipe
suppliers, welders, etc. will prefer to charge the oil guys the
current rate, because they can still afford it, rather than offer
discounts to the gassy guys

67. June 2012
Required replacemtn rates for US Shale

68. July 2012
Sustainability of Dividends vs. Earnings

69. August 2012
They made a small acquisition (120 mn) but only mention it briefly. Change of strategy ? To be checked…

70. Sep 2012
Explanation of acquisition. Was an opportunistic one-off, could be easily and fully integrated into existing facilities

71. Oct 2012
Foreign buyers of Canadian Oil& gas companies

72. Nov 2012
Explains how Peyto is able to extract more “liquid” hydrocarbons 8oil which back then with oil prices of around 0 USD improved profit significantly

73. December 2012
Example how Peyto saves on drilling costs by minimzing seperate drilling sites. Again, fully IRR driven

While others may deem this as small savings and results in
little increase in return (only 2%), I disagree. This is exactly
the type of “chipping away” at costs that results in Peyto
being one of the industry leaders in low costs

74. Jan 2013
On global LNG pricing

75. Feb 2013
more cost saving, replacing diesel powered equipment with LNG powered equipment

76. Mar 2013
Discussion of 2012 Return on Investment

77. Apr 2013
US NatGas consumption and production

As an aside, this isn’t necessarily a natural gas phenomenon
either. If the horizonal technology can do this with shale gas,
many feel it can happen with shale oil as well, although we’re
far from there yet.

78. May 2013
Land expiries and drilling requirements

Considering the above, it is worth doing some due diligence
on land expiries before blindly crediting some companies with
undeveloped drilling inventory that may not be indefinitely in
their possession. By contrast, Peyto’s stacked Deep Basin
land base has very little tenure issues, meaning we can direct
drilling to where we want to drill today, rather than where we
have to drill.

79. June 2013
On the Reserve Life Index (RLI)

Peyto has always had one of the longest
reserve lives of any E&P in the industry, especially when you
look at it on a Proved Developed Producing (PDP) basis.
(Really, that’s how you should always look at it, so that you’re
comparing current production levels to currently producing
reserves. Not current production to future potential reserves,
because future reserves will have future production
associated with them).

80. July 2013
Capital spending vs. dividends

While in theory we agree with investors about re-investment,
there is a practical limit to how much capital can be efficiently
invested each year. Or more precisely, the
pace at which
capital can be efficiently invested. We have all seen
examples, both in the past and more recently, of companies
that have grown capital programs quickly, in order to grow
production quickly, but at the
expense of profitability. At
Peyto, we are simply not interested in unprofitable growth.

81. Aug 2013
NatGas demand / supply projections from a “guru”

82. Sep 2013
On different reservoir formations

83. Oct 2013
Further thoughts on US demand and supply (Marcellus shale)

84. Nov 2013
Cost analyses on 2 MArcellus players, Range Res. and Cabot

85. Dec 2013

The concept is a simple one. The lower a well’s per unit
operating costs are, the lower the production rate at which the
revenue continues to exceed the costs and the well remains
commercial. This point is called the Economic Limit. Of
course, the reverse is also true. The higher the operating
costs, the greater the economic limit. In practical terms, for
Peyto a well might reach it’s economic limit at around 25
mcf/d. But that’s at Peyto’s operating costs of $0.33/mcfe
($2/boe). Conversely, if a company has $2.00/mcfe ($12/boe)
operating costs, like many in our industry, then the economic
limit might be closer to 100 mcfe/d.

86. Jan 2014
Well specific perfomance

87. Feb 2014
E&P business models

The make up of today’s new (and in some cases improved) oil
and gas producer is dramatically changing. The days of your
larger intermediate and senior producers, who fill an entire
office tower in downtown Calgary with their name on the top,
are disappearing.
That’s the power of technology at work, yet again. With the
latest horizontal multi-stage fractured well designs, the same
number of staff can invest over three times as much capital,
achieve three times as much production and reserves
development as they could using vertical wells. On a capital
dollars per person or boes per person basis, that’s much
more efficient (Figure 3).
And while Peyto is the extreme case (highest gas per ass
ratio), we’re not the only ones. There are few new style E&Ps
that have grown through the drill bit with similar, and
dramatically different makeup than the old world E&Ps.

Until we have LNG exports, weather will continue to be the
number one driver of both the demand for and price of natural
gas in North America.

88. Mar 2014
2013 performance discussion

That question is an important one. Should shareholders allow
management to continue to invest their capital? If the
management team cannot demonstrate why they should, then
that capital should not be approved for reinvestment. And a
handful of big wells, with impressive economics, doesn’t
mean that the entire report card is good.
In canvassing the industry, I find very few companies (besides
Peyto) that endeavour to answer that question for their
shareholders. Most assume they are entitled to continue
spending shareholder money even if they have been
destroying value. Kinda like parents who are okay with a child
graduating to the next grade even with a failing report card.
Sooner or later it all catches up.

89. Apr 2014
Again, decline rates and new production

90. May 2014
Royalties, taxes

91. June 2014
Horizontal fracking impact on costs (no impact) and capital spending (quicker)

All of these dynamics are interesting resultants from the new
technology. But the most important question is still, does the
technology make us more profit?
Based on the return analysis that we always do to justify
investing shareholder’s money, it appears we are making the
same amount of return, just on a larger amount of capital. And
that’s a definite improvement.

92. July 2014
Growth vs. “real” profitability

Call me a raving cynic, but one of the main reasons I believe
we are oversupplied with natural gas in North America is
because we have, as a producing industry, too much access
to an abundance of cheap capital. When you combine that
cheap capital with a technology that allows for rapid
production development (ie. Hz multi-stage frac), you can
oversupply the natural gas market in a hurry. This oversupply
is magnified when those supplying the capital aren’t
demanding any return on it.

93. Aug 2014
Leverage, comparison between US and Canadian producers

94. Sep 2014
1000 wells drilled, look back to Peyto’s history

95. Oct 2014
cashflow debt dividends and capital spending

96. Nov 2011
Discussion of “The outsiders”.

There was one simple quote in the book that I particularly
liked, by David Wargo of Putnam Investments, which I believe
epitomizes Peyto in every way. “It’s remarkable how much value can be created by
a small group of really talented people.”
That’s our entire team in a nutshell, which by no means starts
and ends with an unconventional CEO.

97. Dec 2014
Operating costs

How you do that is by having as much of your cost base
variable as opposed to fixed. This is one of the big reasons
why we can keep our costs low despite average well
productivity rising or falling over time.
Strategies to accomplish this are numerous and include
maximizing utilization of owned processing capacity,
minimizing facility downtime, optimizing chemical
consumption, utilizing automation where appropriate,
minimizing separation and disposal of unwanted components
(H2S, CO2, water), and on and on. All of which is much easier
to accomplish if you are in control of and operating your own
production and facilities.
So an enduring op cost advantage, like we have at Peyto, is
not something you can buy off a shelf or convert to after the
fact. It has to be built. By making the right choices, from the
very start, to build it that way

98. Jan 2015
Impact of low oil prices on Peyto (lowers cost)

99. Feb 2015
More on countercyclical investment activity

100. Mar 2015
Review 2014, including backtest of 2010 review

102. May 2015
No april report because of equity raising (not explained).Discussion of pipeline capacity

103. June 2015
On local politics

104. Jul 2015
Composition of natural gas, how to seperate end products, propane price problems. Advanatages of controlling this process.

105. Aug 2015
How to evaluate delays


  • Another company with monthly reports and founded by Don Grey is Gear Energy.

  • Rly great article. I’ve been doing my DD for the past month (SA article: but to me an investment at the price at this point doesn’t look super attractive, neither are my 5-yr IRRs.. would love to hear your view on valuation

  • Thank you again for this great work!
    Good food for thoughts, especially your links and short comments to all these monthly letters!

  • Big fan of this blog, thanks for the continued great work. The following is from a comment I posted re: Peyto on Seeking Alpha a couple weeks back…

    So many things to love about Peyto’s stated philosophy (low cost, lean, efficient, counter-cyclical, etc). Here are my reservations…

    Per Morningstar’s cumulative data for 2005 – 2014, I show the following…

    Free Cash Flow = -195M
    Dividends Paid = -1,481M
    Net Common Shares Issued = 974M
    Net Debt Issued = 702M
    Net Change in Cash = 0M

    PEY began 2005 with no cash and finished 2014 with no cash, hence they’ve simply financed dividends (and their slightly negative free cash flow) through the issuance of shares and debt.

    I do not have any qualms about their negative free cash flow given their substantial growth, but I think I’d prefer a smaller (or no) dividend in keeping with that (disciplined) growth and a less leveraged balance sheet better suited to their counter-cyclical strategy (which should be in play at the moment).

    • the CEO commented in several monthly letters on that. Part of the answer is that when they were a trust, they did have to pay dividends in order to get a certain tax treatment (no taxes at company level), very similar to a REIT.

      • Do they still pay a dividend for this reason or could they stop without negative tax consequences? I’d rather see them fortify the balance sheet in good times and re-invest cash flow during bad times than pay a dividend… of course if their current tax/legal situation precludes this I understand.

        • The trust structure was active until 12/2010. In 2011 they then cut the monthly dividen by -50% but have now increased it over the last 4,5 years back to the 2010 level. The CEo believes in distributing part of the earned profits but I agree, reinvesting would most likely be even better.

          Although conservative leverage is not a bad thing, especially regarding the long life of their reserves.

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