Westmoreland Coal upgraded by two rating agencies

Westmoreland Coal (NasdaqGM: WLB), a major producer of lignite and sub-bituminous coal in the U.S. and western Canada, on Nov. 21 announced that both Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services have upgraded Westmoreland’s corporate rating.

  • Moody’s upgraded the corporate family rating to B3 from Caa1 and assigned Caa1 rating to Westmoreland’s proposed new $300m term loan. A stable outlook was assigned.
  • S&P upgraded the corporate credit rating to B from B- and assigned a B issue-level rating to Westmoreland’s proposed new $300m term loan. The outlook remains stable.

Both agencies cited the successful integration progress of the Canadian coal mining operations as a key factor in the ratings upgrades, the coal company pointed out.

Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal is the oldest independent coal company in the United States. Its coal operations include mining at several big strip operations, a char production facility, and a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant. Its power operations include ownership of the two-unit ROVA coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.

The company in April completed the acquisition of Sherritt International’s Prairie and Mountain coal mining operations, which include seven producing thermal coal mines in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant and the char production facility. Together with Westmoreland’s existing U.S. operations, the acquisition placed the firm as North America’s sixth largest coal producer.

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.