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Post-crisis: Study finds expats now prioritise health and well-being

A study by Allianz Care found that financial priorities of 52% of expats interviewed had changed as a result of the crisis. More than half of them stated that health and well-being was now a priority for them. Family also weighs more in the balance these days, expats say.

The COVID-19 and its resulting health and economic crisis has sure changed the way we see life. The unprecedented lockdown, closure of borders and halt to almost all economic activity will definitely cause shifts in our way of life for the years to come. How will this crisis impact expat choices? Already, an Expat.com survey found that 38% of expats were planning to head home after the crisis. Another study by Allianz Care has only just found that expat financial priorities had also changed following the crisis. Indeed, 52% reported having seen a shift in their priorities because of the crisis and 53% of these explained that they would be spending more on health and well-being now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis. The news was reported by the news outlet, International Investment.

“2020 has been a life-changing year for many of us across the world as we deal with the implications of COVID-19. Massive lifestyle changes have forced on us almost overnight, which in turn have forced us to re-assess how we live our lives and re-evaluate what’s truly important. The same is absolutely true for expats who are living and working across the globe. This comes across strongly in the increasing prioritisation of health and family”, said Paula Covey, chief marketing officer for health at Allianz Partners to International Investment.

Other than that, the survey also found that the profile of the “expat” is slowly changing. While in past surveys, Allianz Care tended to find that most expats moved abroad temporarily on work assignments and for high pay positions, it seems to be changing. Indeed, expats seem to have a higher interest in finding long term work abroad. Paula Covey mentioned that 76% of expats mentioned having changed jobs since living abroad and 58% were planning to remain in their country long-term. A study by Expat.com had also found last year that only 35% of 3, 500 expats had plans to return home at the time of their expatriation.

Expats mainly living in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore were surveyed. Most of them, 49%, mentioned they had initially moved abroad in search of better pay and financial benefits. For others, it was the search for a better quality of life that led them to move abroad. 71% of respondents had moved abroad with their families.

Source: expat.com

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FAQ’s FOR IVORY COAST IMMIGRATION

Question 1: List of statutory payments/allowance, legal status value (days %), base threshold, comments
Answer 1: The statutory payments include the salary (Minimum wage: 65 000 FCFA = $120 USD), transport allowance

Question 2: Taxes, is VAT/GST/ Turnover tax applicable? If yes, please state the percentage of the tax, if yes, please state the percentage of the tax. Is VAT/GST applicable to total invoice or to service fee?
Answer 2: VAT is currently at 18%

Question 3: Please list other taxes if applicable, value (%), tax base, comments
Answer 3: see tables below

TAXES PAYABLE BY EMPLOYEES
Wage tax 1.5% applicable on 80% of net income (net income = RB X 80%) or 1.2% on gross income
National contribution for the economic, cultural and social development of the Nation 0 to 50 000 0
50 001 to 130 000 1,5 %
130 001 to 200 000 5 %
More than 200 000 10 %

General income tax Net taxable income (R) = [80% B – (IS + CN)] x 85%
TAXES ON WAGES PAYABLE BY EMPLOYERS
Contribution payable by employers EC proper for expatriate staff salaries: 11.5%
National contribution for the economic, cultural and social development of the Nation (CN) – Local staff: 1.5%
– Expatriate staff: 1.5%

Learning tax – Local staff: 0,5 %
– Expatriate staff: 0,5 %

Additional tax on continuing vocational training – Local staff: 1,5 %
– Expatriate staff: 1,5 %
Transport allowance Minimum 30 000 CFA ($55 USD)
SSNIT 5.4%
Question 4: Which day is payday?
Answer 4: End of the month or the last Friday of the month

Question 5: Is there any specific legislation regarding commission/bonus payout?
Answer 5: Commissions / bonus payout are taxable at the same rate as the salary and have no limit

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Business Registration In Ghana

There are various forms of business entities that can be registered under the laws of Ghana and it is therefore appropriate to choose the right legal structure that best serves your business intentions. These are the various forms of business registration under the laws of Ghana.

  • Unlimited Liability Companies
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Companies Limited by guarantee
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership firms
  • External Company

With the automation at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), business registration has become fairly easy.

All business registration forms are downloadable at http://rgd.gov.gh/index.php/forms/  or on-sale at the RGD. Register your company in Ghana with ease, by simply following the steps outlined below:

Steps to Registering a Company Limited by shares in Ghana

STEP 1: Conduct a company name search at the Registrar General Department

The possibility of choosing the same name for your business as someone else is quite high. It is therefore very essential that you conduct a name search of your company at the Registrar General’s Department, to ensure that the name is available. Should the name be available, there is a period of thirty days during which the selected name can be reserved, upon request.

The name of your business is key, as it should reflect the nature of your business or at least be relevant to your business activities. The Registrar General’s Department is highly likely to reject any names that sound offensive or too similar to other existing businesses.

STEP 2: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) registration for all company directors, secretary and shareholders

Download TIN forms @ http://rgd.gov.gh/wpcontent/uploads/2015/12/Taxpayer-registration-form-individual.pdf . All company directors, secretary and shareholders are required to register and obtain a TIN for the purposes of business registration. Complete TIN forms and attach a copy of photo ID (Drivers, passport bio-data, voters ID). TIN numbers are created within 24 to 48 hours at no charge at any Ghana Revenue Authority office.

TIN numbers can also be created for corporate organizations This situation becomes necessary when the shares of the company being registered are held by a corporate entity. In such a scenario, the corporate organization will obtain a TIN Form for Organizations and dully complete same and attach a letter of introduction. A TIN number will subsequently be created for the corporate shareholder.

All persons or organisations are required to have one TIN number for all their registered businesses; in case you decide to register more than one business entity or you serve as a director on several business organisations. Information required to complete an individual TIN form include;

  • Name
  • Occupation
  • Photo ID details
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Residential and postal address (Digital/Ghana Post Address of the company)
  • Contact

STEPS 3 : Complete form 3, form 4 and Company Regulations  

These forms can be accessed on http://rgd.gov.gh/index.php/forms/ and require information such as company name, contact, business objectives, principal place of business, stated capital, postal address, auditor’s details as well as personal details of the director, secretary and shareholders.

Some vital information required to complete the forms includes:

  • Company name
  • Registered address
  • Postal address
  • Principal place of business
  • Business objects or activities
  • Contact
  • auditors’ details
  • Authorized and issued shares
  • Stated capital
  • Shareholding structure
  • Personal details of directors, secretary and shareholders (nationality, date of birth, occupation, residential address)

According to the Companies Act 1963, Act 179, all c0mpanies are required to have at least two initial directors and a secretary during the company registration process. At least one of the company directors or secretaries must be resident in Ghana. After forms are duly completed, the directors, secretary and shareholders have to append their signatures on relevant pages before submission.

STEP 4: Making the required payment:

After filling the forms with the needed details, there is a need to submit the forms at the nearest Registrar General around your region. There are two main statutory fees to be paid and these fees are:

*incorporation and filing fees

* stamp duty: which is 0.5% of the company’s stated capital.

NOTE:  The minimum stated capital for Limited Liability company owned by a Ghanaian is 500 cedis.

STEP 5: Pick up business registration certificates

Upon submission of forms, one should expect to have the process completed in less than a month thus between 2 to 4 weeks, after which the following documents will be issued;

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Certificate of commencement `               `
  • Form 3 & 4
  • Company regulations

These are the legal documents of proof of company’s existence in Ghana. The documents will indicate clearly the business name, activities, business address, directors’ details, company TIN as well as shareholders information among others. The business certificates can be used for any business transaction or open a corporate bank account with any of the commercial banks in Ghana.

Can a foreign investor start a company in Ghana?

Yes, any foreigner can start a company in Ghana as long as that investor has valid paperwork and right financial backup.

Can a foreign Company open a branch in Ghana?

Yes a foreign company can open a branch in Ghana with 2 options, thus as a Ghanaian company or either as extension of the foreign company.

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Global Business Economy

The global economy can be envisioned as one largely connected portrait of different markets; linked together by the need to transact. However, this need varies amongst communities, sects and ethnicities yet the benefits of transactions differ from individual to individual. Business is one of the many ideologies that bridges in the gap in culture and merges differences between people. Depending on the nature of business, it may require multiple interactions between the parties involved or just a onetime interaction. Knowing that most of the world’s fundamental systems rely directly or indirectly on business for maintenance and proper function makes it safe to acknowledge that business has been a key element of human existence even in prehistoric times.

Business is a blanket term for all beneficial exchanges that are characterized by the interchange of goods and services for money or kind payment, today’s world is gradually coming to the realization that money is a broader term than we envisaged . This blanket term of business when broken down into fundamentals has transactions as a focal point. Therefore so far as transactions occur business will always play a dominant role in the existence of humanity as a race.

Without need for a service or a good a transaction cannot be completed and without someone to supply the needed good or service, it can also not be completed. Business is therefore a means of providing value added solutions to people who are willing and able to appreciate these solutions in cash or kind payment. Now where there could be a course for discussion is determining how valuable the solution is and how much money or kind payment a person is willing to part with to gain the solution.

At certain points in history, humanity realized the need to engage in meaningful exchanges of goods and services produced on a large scale hence the need for states to become industrialized and commercial. With the mindset of maintaining power and influence in their ability to match and meet the demands of other countries. Meaning that the most provident nation could leverage on their ability to provide as a means of controlling the decisions of other nations who were dependent on them. This idea or concept bears similarity to other economic and international trade theories such as the mercantile theory (primarily used as a mean of maintaining wealth and influence back in the sixteenth century. This is a traced path of how business could usurp all other activities and gain control of world power and influence, leaving authority in the hands of the nation that best meets the need of many countries in the world.

Amidst the key elements of the business revolution is the most important member…People… Just as people have changed over the years, the dynamics of business have improved with a number of principled organizations showing obeisance to business ethics.

Time has proven that business should be easier to conduct and should certainly be regulated by a set of rules domestically and internationally that protect the best interests of all parties involved. This in turn makes it easier to regularize and monitor business activities to maintain orderliness in society.

We live in a fast paced business world that gives us the opportunity to conduct business right from the comfort of our homes and also exchange information anywhere across the globe. The world is making continuous strides to expand the scope of business and develop it further into an all-inclusive aspect of life. And limits of business knowledge could only further and further as the days pass.

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Boston Fed says Main Street program now ‘fully operational’ and ready to purchase loans

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said on Monday the Main Street Lending Program is now fully operational and ready to purchase eligible loans.

The Main Street lending facility, which opened for lender registration in mid-June, is meant to extend easy credit to small and mid-sized businesses that cannot get it elsewhere.

The Fed encouraged registered lenders to start submitting qualifying loans. The U.S. central bank also announced it intends to publish a state-by-state listing of registered lenders that are accepting new business customers under the program and that choose to be listed.

Lenders had still not made any loans under the program as of July 1, according to data released by the Fed last week.

Large financial institutions that work closely with the Fed, known as primary dealers, slashed in half their expectations for how much take-up they expect from the Main Street lending program, according to a survey released last week by the New York Fed.

It is not entirely clear why the loans have not drawn more interest. When the Fed first proposed it, staff worked urgently on standing it up as thousands of letters poured in with suggestions for how to make it more useful and questions about where to find participating lenders.

source: reuters.com

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U.S. job growth accelerates; layoffs remain elevated

Lucia Mutikani
5 MIN READ

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy created a record 4.8 million jobs in June as more restaurants and bars resumed operations, but layoffs remained elevated and raging COVID-19 cases across the country threaten the fledgling recovery.

The reopening of businesses after being shuttered in mid-March has unleashed a wave of coronavirus infections in large parts of the country, including the populous California, Florida and Texas. Several states are scaling back or pausing reopenings, and sending some workers back home.

Still, the rebound in hiring added to a stream of data, including consumer spending, in suggesting that the recession which started in February was likely over.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week acknowledged the rebound in activity, saying the economy had “entered an important new phase and (had) done so sooner than expected.” But Powell cautioned the outlook “is extraordinarily uncertain” and would depend on “our success in containing the virus.”

The jump in nonfarm payrolls in June was the largest since the government started keeping records in 1939. Payrolls rebounded 2.699 million in May after a historic 20.787 million plunge in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 3 million jobs in June.

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President Donald Trump at a press briefing after the data said the jobs report “proves that our economy is roaring back.”

But despite the better-than-expected increase, employment remains 14.7 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level.

The measurement of the unemployment rate continued to be biased down by people incorrectly misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work” last month.

The jobless rate fell to 11.1% last month from 13.3% in May. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the employment report, said the unemployment rate would have been 12.1% without the misclassification problem.

Hiring last month was boosted by the typically low-paying leisure and hospitality industry, which added 2.1 million jobs, accounting for about two-fifths of the gains in payrolls. The return of these workers pushed down average wages 1.2% in June.

Some companies are cutting wages and reducing hours.

Stocks on Wall Street rallied on the employment data. The dollar was steady against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell.

BROAD JOB GAINS
There were strong job gains in the retail, education and health, manufacturing, construction and professional and business services sectors. Government employment rose modestly as local governments hired teachers and support staff. State governments, confronting reduced revenues and stressed budgets caused by the pandemic, laid off more workers in June.

Employment is increasing largely as companies rehire workers laid off when non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars, gyms and dental offices among others were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Economists have attributed the burst in job gains to the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, giving businesses loans that can be partially forgiven if used for wages. Those funds are drying up and many companies, including some not initially impacted by lockdown measures, are struggling with weak demand forcing them to lay off workers.

Economists and industry watchers say this together with the exhaustion of the PPP loans has triggered a new wave of layoffs, that is keeping weekly new applications for unemployment benefits extraordinarily high.

In a separate report on Thursday the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.427 million for the week ended June 27. Though claims have declined from a record 6.867 million in late March, progress has stalled.

The claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 59,000 to 19.290 million in the week ending June 20. These so-called continued claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, have dropped from a record 24.912 million in early May.

There were 31.5 million people collecting unemployment checks in mid-June.

With the measurement of the unemployment rate continuing to be distorted since March economists recommend focusing on continuing claims and data on the total number of unemployment checks recipients to get a better view of the labor market.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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Lebanese finance official in IMF talks resigns post

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A senior member of Lebanon’s negotiating team with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has quit his post as finance ministry director general, telling al-Jadeed TV he had resigned over the way leaders are handling a financial crisis.

Alain Bifani is the second member of Lebanon’s team at the IMF talks to resign this month. The finance ministry confirmed his resignation in a statement.

Bifani told al-Jadeed the path being taken by Lebanese leaders was reckless and would hurt the people. Reuters could not immediately reach him for comment.

Lebanon is grappling with a financial crisis seen as the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

Talks with the IMF which began in May have been bogged down by a row between the government and the central bank over the scale of losses in the financial system and how they should be shared.

Bifani told al-Jadeed that “our approach and our numbers are correct”, in an apparent reference to a government financial recovery plan submitted to the IMF.

The IMF has said the government’s figures appear to be roughly the correct order of magnitude but that Beirut needed to reach a common understanding to move forward.

Earlier this month, financial adviser Henri Chaoul quit Lebanon’s IMF team, saying politicians, monetary authorities, and the financial sector were ‘opting to dismiss the magnitude’ of losses and embark on a ‘populist agenda’.

The numbers have met opposition from the central bank, the banking sector and a parliamentary fact-finding committee that has challenged the losses and assumptions.

Reporting by Samia Nakhoul and Ellen Francis; Writing by Tom Perry, Editing by William Maclean

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European stock index futures bounce on Fed’s bond buying plan

June 16 (Reuters) – European stock index futures joined a global rally on Tuesday, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan to kick off its corporate bond buying programme in an attempt to contain the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fed is set to start purchasing corporate bonds on Tuesday through the secondary market corporate credit facility (SMCCF), one of several emergency facilities recently launched by the U.S. central bank to shore up liquidity.

Euro Stoxx 50 futures surged 2.5%, recovering from a slump in the past week that was fuelled by concerns of another wave of global coronavirus infections. German DAX futures were up 2.7%, while FTSE 100 futures gained 2.2%.

S&P 500 futures also added 1.1%, looking set to extend gains for the benchmark S&P 500 index for a third straight day. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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Inflation dog may finally bark, investors bet

LONDON (Reuters) – Gold, forests, property stocks, inflation-linked bonds – these are just some of the assets investors are pouring money into on the view that the recent explosion of government spending and central bank stimulus may finally rouse inflation from its decade-long slumber.

With the world economy forecast to shrink 6% this year, it may seem like a strange time to fret about inflation.

And sure enough, market-based gauges suggest an uptrend in prices may not trouble investors for years. U.S. and euro zone inflation gauges indicate that annual price growth will be running at barely over 1% even a decade from now.

So if inflation really is, as the IMF put it in 2013, “the dog that didn’t bark”, failing to respond to all the central bank money-printing unleashed in the wake of the 2008-9 crisis, why should investors prepare for it now, especially as demographics and technology are also conspiring to tamp down inflation across the developed world?

The answer is that some think the dog really will bark this time, partly because – unlike in the post-2008 years – governments around the world have also been rolling out massive spending packages, in a bid to limit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will be pushing, pushing, pushing on the string and dropping our guard, then 3-5 years from now…that’s when the (inflation) dog will start barking,” said PineBridge Investments’ head of multi-asset Mike Kelly, who has been buying gold on that view.

“Gold worries about such things long in advance. It has risen through this coronavirus with that down-the-road-risk top of mind,” he added.

Even typically frugal governments such as Germany have joined central banks with trillions of dollars in stimulus programmes. Investors say even the long taboo topic of debt monetisation, where central banks directly fund government spending, may be on the cards.

“What worries me is that at the moment it seems that there is no limit to fiscal stimulus,” said Klaus Kaldemorgen, a portfolio manager at asset manager DWS, who said he was investing in inflation hedges far more now than he was after 2008.

Inflation hawks also cite a trend of de-globalisation, where shrinking international trade and Western companies bringing production back to their own countries leads to higher prices.

This view that inflation could pick up ahead is reflected in forward swaps and in Citi’s inflation surprise indexes, which show that the extent that U.S. inflation readings

WHAT TO BUY?
Investors have an interest in pricing future inflation correctly to safeguard their returns, hence the need for hedges, assets that increase in value or at least hold it when price growth accelerates.

They appear primarily to favor U.S. inflation-linked bonds and gold. Wealth managers canvassed by Reuters have been channelling up to 10% of clients’ portfolios into the yellow metal via index funds, gold shares and even bullion.

But if gold prices have risen 18% since the end of March XAU=, some other hedges remain cheap.

U.S. 10-year inflation-linked bonds – known as TIPS – show “break-evens”, or the anticipated rate of inflation in a decade, around just 1.2%.

Also known as linkers, the face value and interest payments on these securities rise with inflation.

But despite the stimulus boom, “the inflation levels that are priced in are much lower than what was priced in at the end of last year,” said Teun Draaisma, a portfolio manager at Man Group, who has invested in inflation-linked assets.

So inflation might be some years away, but banks are advising clients to pick up cheap hedges. Morgan Stanley suggests U.S. 30-year linkers, while Natwest advises buying 30-year UK linkers and 10-year euro zone inflation swaps.

“These hedges in many cases look extraordinarily cheap, so why not buy them now? We could wait, then things could start to move away from us,” said Colin Harte, multi-asset portfolio manager at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Indeed, the S&P 10-year U.S. TIPS Index is already up 12% from March levels .SPBDU1ST.

“It won’t be a couple of years from now until (inflationary factors) start to come through, so that’s why we keep (long-dated U.S. linkers),” said Chris Jeffery at Legal & General’s asset allocation team.

Harte at BNP said his main hedge is gold but he has also invested in a broader commodity basket which includes natural gas, copper and oil.

WOOD AND FORESTS
And it’s not just about gold or linkers: another choice is real estate. Kaldemorgen of DWS is buying German residential property stocks, betting that the supply of new property will rise slower than the money supply.

Global house prices, adjusted for inflation, rose 14% in 2009-2019, according to the IMF.

Legal & General’s Jeffery accelerated investments in agricultural land and forestry earlier this year in expectation they will retain their real value over the five- to 10-year horizon. His holdings are via publicly listed shares of companies heavily exposed to such land.

Timber prices rose over 130% in real terms in Great Britain over the past decade, Forest Research data shows, while the value of U.S. farmland rose 28% in the decade to 2019, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Kelly of PineBridge also favours timberland, purchased through private funds. While predicting that linkers will remain cheap for the next few years, he expects timber to benefit sooner if rock-bottom mortgages entice more first-time home buyers and fuel a construction boom.

Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli, additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; editing by Sujata Rao and Hugh Lawson

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Exclusive: Chesapeake Energy to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week

Exclusive: Chesapeake Energy to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week – sources
David French, Mike Spector

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week, said three people familiar with the matter, becoming the largest oil and gas producer to unravel after an energy market rout caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April 17, 2012. From a single 6,000-square-foot building in 1989, the multi-building complex today contains almost one million square feet of office space and includes employee perks like on-site Botox treatments at the headquarters. Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon is one of the most successful energy entrepreneurs of recent decades. But he hasn’t always proved popular with shareholders of the company he co-founded, the second-largest natural gas producer in the United States. Now, a series of previously undisclosed loans to McClendon could once again put Chesapeake’s CEO and shareholders at odds.

The Oklahoma City-based company, co-founded by the late wildcatter Aubrey McClendon, is in the final stages of negotiating a roughly $900 million debtor-in-possession loan to support its operations while under Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection, two of the sources said.

The company is also in talks with creditors to “roll up” some of its existing debt and make it part of the bankruptcy loan, bringing the total debtor-in-possession financing closer to $2 billion, the sources added. The company is reeling under a mountain of debt totaling more than $9 billion.

Chesapeake is also attempting to negotiate an equity infusion from creditors to help it emerge from bankruptcy proceedings, one of the sources said.

Chesapeake plans to complete its negotiations with its creditors and file for bankruptcy as soon as Thursday, the three sources said. The timing could slip to next week depending on the progress the company makes in these discussions, the sources added.

If the company manages to emerge from bankruptcy, creditors that include Franklin Resources Inc (BEN.N), will take over Chesapeake in exchange for eliminating more than $7 billion of its debt under the outlines of a plan being negotiated, one of the sources said. Franklin is among Chesapeake’s most significant creditors, holding large portions of its debt.

The sources requested anonymity because the bankruptcy preparations are confidential. Chesapeake and Franklin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Chesapeake, which employed about 2,300 people as of the end of last year, skipped an interest payment on debt due on Monday, two of the sources said. Another obligation looms on July 1.

In May, the company warned it might seek bankruptcy protection, and added that there was substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Reuters in April reported Chesapeake was preparing a potential bankruptcy filing.

Chesapeake helped pioneer the extraction of oil and gas reserves from shale rock formations, an environmentally controversial process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

McClendon and Oklahoma businessman Tom Ward founded Chesapeake with a small investment in 1989. McClendon became the company’s chairman and chief executive. The company was named for his love of the Chesapeake Bay region around Maryland and Virginia.

Over time, the company snapped up land across the United States and became a dominant player in fracking, with McClendon believing that natural gas could eventually supplant oil and coal for energy needs. By 2005, Chesapeake was the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer behind only Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N).

McClendon helped create tens of thousands of jobs for the Oklahoma City area and became a well-known community philanthropist while running Chesapeake. He was a part owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball team, which he helped bring to town. The team still plays in the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

A natural gas glut reversed Chesapeake’s fortunes, and prices fell over the past decade. McClendon relinquished his chairmanship and stepped down as chief executive in 2013, as investigations swirled into possible antitrust violations and whether he blurred lines between his personal dealings and those of the company.

A federal indictment in March 2016 charged McClendon with conspiring to suppress land prices by rigging bids for leases while he led Chesapeake. At the time, he disputed the charge and vowed to prove his innocence.

McClendon died in a single-car crash the following day, which a state medical examiner later determined to be an accident.

Chesapeake last year started reworking its balance sheet and pushed out some debt maturities while attempting to pivot away from gas toward a greater emphasis on oil production.

But the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in a sharp travel downturn, and a Saudi-Russian oil price war upended the company’s plans.

Reporting by David French and Mike Spector; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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