EQT Corp. lays off nearly 25% of its workforce | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

EQT Corp. lays off nearly 25% of its workforce

Natasha Lindstrom
1656200_web1_PTR-LIV-ARCHITECTURE4-011914
Tribune-Review file
Street level of the EQT building in Downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, January 10, 2014.
1656200_web1_PTR-LIV-ARCHITECTURE10-011914
Tribune-Review file
The 20th floor of the EQT building (bottom left) lines up with the adjacent building nearby in Downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, January 10, 2014.

EQT Corp. is laying off 196 employees, nearly one-quarter of its workforce, the Downtown Pittsburgh-based natural gas producer announced Tuesday.

Company officials attributed the decision to a broader restructuring plan to “create a more efficient and nimbler organization.”

Slashing the 196 positions will save about $50 million in annual costs, according to EQT.

“I’d like to thank those employees who are leaving for their contributions to EQT,” CEO Toby Rice said in a statement. “We firmly believe this is a step we must take to create a more efficient organization and to enable our employees to succeed.”

Rice said the move “represents another significant milestone as we transform EQT into a modern, technology-driven and efficient natural gas producer.”

The reorganization involves reducing the company’s number of departments from 58 to 15.

Company officials did not specify the types of positions eliminated or where the affected employees are located.

EQT Corp. — which bills itself as the largest natural gas producer in the United States — focuses on the Appalachian Basin, with operations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The company traces its roots back 130 years.

The newly announced layoffs bring EQT’s total number of employees down to about 650, compared to more than 900 who were on payroll last year.

EQT officials acknowledged a prior round of layoffs in January, two years after EQT’s merger with Rice Energy Inc. Officials similarly attributed the January layoffs to EQT’s broader plan to improve efficiency and cash flow.

In December, Rice family members Toby Z. Rice and Derek A. Rice sent a letter to the EQT board seeking power to enact their business plan for the company. The Rices projected the plan would generate an incremental $400 million to $600 million pretax cash flow above EQT’s projections and sought authority from the EQT board to give Toby Rice “proper authority and support to oversee operations.”

In Tuesday’s statement, Rice, said, “Following the addition of proven leadership and the establishment of our digital work environment, we evaluated the business and determined the appropriate ‘future state’ organizational structure,” Rice said. “This future state will challenge, empower and support employees so we can achieve our strategic goals of reducing costs, improving efficiency and realizing the full potential of our asset base for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

EQT officials plan to share more about the company’s financial position during an upcoming third-quarter earnings report for investors.

On Tuesday afternoon, shares of EQT were trading at $11.81, down from $19.86 in January. The stock’s peak hit $21.45 in May, and it’s been steadily dropping since.

RELATED: Pittsburgh-based EQT confirms layoffs, but details are scant

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.