Patriot gets until May 5 of next year to file reorganization plan

Patriot Coal (OTC: PCXCQ) on Nov. 15 got more time to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, without a competing reorganization plan being offered by other parties.

Judge Shelley Chapman, sitting in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, signed a Nov. 15 order that extended Patriot’s exclusive period to file a reorganization plan to May 5, 2013. The judge also extended the company’s deadline to solicit creditor acceptances of any such plan to July 4, 2013. The judge wrote that this order is without prejudice to the rights of Patriot and its various subsidiaries in bankruptcy to seek additional extensions of the exclusive period.

The original deadline to file a reorganization plan had been Nov. 6, with a solicitation deadline of Jan. 5, 2013. “The Debtors seek these extensions to avoid the necessity of having to formulate a plan of reorganization prematurely and to ensure that their plan of reorganization best addresses the interests of the Debtors and their employees, creditors and estates,” the company wrote in the Oct. 18 extension request.

St. Louis-based Patriot on July 9, hammered by high costs and a slumping coal market, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since then, it has gotten the court to reject various contracts and equipment leases, which individually haven’t been major, but have been significant steps toward a larger reorganization.

For the long version of that summary, here is what Patriot said in the Oct. 18 extension request: “In the approximately three and a half months since the Petition Date, the Debtors and their advisors have also dedicated significant time and resources to, among other things, (a) obtaining approval of an $802 million debtor-in-possession credit facility on appropriate terms, permitting the financing of the Debtors’ operations during these chapter 11 cases (b) defending against multiple motions to transfer the venue of these chapter 11 cases; (c) analyzing and taking initial steps to address costs associated with the Debtors’ labor and retiree obligations; (d) commencing and prosecuting multiple adversary proceedings related to coal sale contracts; (e) negotiating and entering into coal supply agreement stipulations; (f) beginning the process of analyzing thousands of leases and executory contracts to identify those that are beneficial to the Debtors’ estates and seeking to reject those that are not; (g) responding to various automatic stay issues (including with respect to significant environmental obligations); (h) addressing a multitude of creditor, supplier and customer inquiries; (i) responding to discovery requests by certain equity holders; (j) finalizing and filing the Debtors’ schedules of assets and liabilities, income and expenditures and executory contracts and unexpired leases, and their statements of financial affairs; and (k) establishing a bar date for the filing of claims.”

Patriot is a major coal producer in West Virginia, mainly in the southern part of the state but also with the Federal No. 2 longwall mine in the north, and also produces a lately lesser amount of coal in western Kentucky.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.