Alpha Natural Resources files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Alpha Natural Resources files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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(WVVA) Alpha Natural Resources has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to help cut its reported $3 billion dollar debt load.

The company made the announcement Monday. The documents were filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, VA.

Alpha's Board of Directors made the decision to file Chapter 11 in order to survive a "historically challenged coal market." 

“While a difficult decision, this voluntary Chapter 11 filing is the right strategy at the right time for the future of our business. It will enable us to build on the significant steps we have taken over the past several years to restructure our debt and protect our operations, says Alpha Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield. "I am confident Alpha will emerge from this process as a stronger company, with a diversified resource base and better positioned for the future."

Crutchfield says the U.S. coal industry is "in an unprecedented period of distress."  He says competition from natural gas, an oversupply of coal in the global market, low prices, and government regulation have "pushed electric utilities to transition away from coal-fired power plants."  Crutchfield says the sector will likely get smaller but will continue to play a significant role in electricity production and steel making.

“The change and challenges the U.S. coal industry has experienced over the last several years are greater than any in the past three decades," says Crutchfield. "There is no doubt more uncertainty ahead, but also transformational opportunity in the coal sector for those who make proactive, strategic decisions.”

 Alpha has secured an 18-month DIP (debtor-in-possession) loan totaling  $692 million from Citigroup. Mining operations, sales, and shipments are expected to continue without interruption. 

Company stakeholders can find more information on the bankruptcy process at www.alpharestructuring.com

Alpha Natural Resources is based in Bristol, VA. It operates more than 50 underground and surface mines and more than 20 coal preparation facilities in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia , and Wyoming. 

West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin released the following statement:

"Today's announcement by Alpha Natural Resources is heartbreaking for our miners, their families and the communities in which they live. The bankruptcy filing affects more than just those directly employed by Alpha - it affects suppliers, support services and retailers whose businesses are dependent on these companies and their employees. "We recognize market forces play a role in these decisions; however, today's announcement by Alpha also demonstrates the negative impacts the EPA's irresponsible mandates continue to have on our state. For years, we have tried to warn the EPA of the devastating consequences of these regulations, and this is another example of the real-life impacts those decisions can have."

Senator Shelley Moore Capito released the following statement:

“This news is very troubling for West Virginia and the thousands of families who will be impacted,” said Senator Capito. “It’s no surprise that Alpha points to federal policies as part of the reason for its bankruptcy filing, especially when the president is just hours away from announcing the most extreme anti-coal regulations to date. I remain focused on leading the fight against these devastating regulations, starting with a markup of my ARENA Act this week.”




 

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