VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Private sector coal producer Peabody Energy expects to exit its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early April, after a US judge on Thursday said he intends to confirm the company's amended plan of reorganisation.
Bankruptcy Court Judge Barry Schermer said he was ready to sign an order to approve Peabody's bankruptcy emergence once language regarding a late settlement of certain US Department of Justice complaints had been finalised.
St Louis-based Peabody will leave bankruptcy amid dramatically improved short-term prospects for its business compared with a year ago, when it sought Chapter 11 protection.
"Peabody has accomplished the goals set out nearly a year ago, against an industry backdrop that has strengthened," CEO Glenn Kellow said in a statement.
The reorganisation plan, which will repay secured lenders in full, received overwhelming support from its creditors. The plan received support from creditors with an overall approval rate of 93% and unanimous acceptance by all 20 voting classes.
Peabody's plan will cut more than $5-billion in debt, paving the way to exit Chapter 11 protection in April.
The plan is being financed through a $1.5-billion sale of stock, comprising a $750-million rights offering available to bondholders and a $750-million private placement of preferred equity for institutional investors.
The plan also includes a stock bonus plan for employees and executives, including about $15-million for Kellow and $3-million to $5-million for five other top executives.
Peabody expects its new equity to trade on the NYSE.