ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE: PCX), headquartered in St. Louis, has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Patriot has taken this action in order to undertake a comprehensive financial restructuring. Patriot expects its mining operations and customer shipments to continue in the ordinary course throughout the reorganization process.
In conjunction with its reorganization, Patriot has obtained a commitment for $802 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Barclays Bank PLC, and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated as joint lead arrangers. Upon approval by the Bankruptcy Court, the new financing and cash generated from Patriot’s ongoing operations will be used to support the business during the reorganization process.
“The coal industry is undergoing a major transformation and Patriot’s existing capital structure prevents it from making the necessary adjustments to achieve long-term success,” said Patriot Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irl F. Engelhardt. “Our objective is to use the reorganization process to address important issues in an orderly way and make the Company stronger and more competitive.”
Patriot President & Chief Operating Officer Bennett K. Hatfield added, “We remain firmly committed to serving our customers and to being a good employer by maintaining safe, productive operations as we undertake this process. The skills of our employees and the quality of our service provide an excellent platform for Patriot’s future success. We appreciate the ongoing dedication of our employees, whose hard work is critical to our success and the future of our Company.”
Patriot’s business outlook has been impacted by a number of challenges that are affecting the coal industry, including reductions in U.S. thermal coal demand due to competition from low priced natural gas, challenging environmental regulations affecting the cost of producing and using coal, and weaker international and domestic economies. The Company has reacted to the lower domestic demand by reducing production and increasing sales to the export markets. During recent months, the cancellation of customer contracts, lower thermal coal prices and rising expenditures for environmental and other liabilities have severely constrained the Company’s liquidity and financial flexibility.
The company’s Chapter 11 petition listed $3.57 billion in assets and $3.07 billion in debts. Earlier this year Patriot trimmed costs and laid off 1,000 employees or contractors.
Patriot Coal Corporation is a producer and marketer of coal in the eastern United States, with 12 active mining complexes in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. Patriot ships to domestic and international electricity generators, industrial users and metallurgical coal customers, and controls approximately 1.9 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves.