Walter Energy to hold Jan. 19 auction for left-over coal assets

Walter Energy filed a Jan. 13 notice with its bankruptcy court that it plans a Jan. 19 auction of assets that “stalking horse” bidder Coal Acquisition LLC decided not to buy.

Coal Acquisition, backed by some of Walter Energy’s leading lenders, was the only bidder for a group of properties that consist primarily of Walter Energy coal mines and related assets in Alabama. “The Stalking Horse Purchaser did not bid on certain Non-Core Assets (as defined in the Bidding Procedures Order), including Lot 3 (West Virginia Assets), Lot 4 (Taft Assets), Lot 8 (Select JWR Assets), and Lot 9 (Walter Coke Assets),” said the Jan. 13 notice filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Walter has now decided to auction assets in Lot 3, Lot 4, Lot 8 and Lot 9 on Jan. 19 at the offices of its attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama. Lot 3 includes its coal mines in southern West Virginia. The company added: “As previously noticed, a hearing to approve the Sale(s) of Lots 3, 4, 8, and 9 (the ‘Sale Hearing’), including the assumption and assignment of certain Available Contracts, will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, 1800 Fifth Avenue North Birmingham, Alabama 35203, before the Honorable Tamara O. Mitchell, on January 20, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (prevailing Central time).

The company also reported: “Each Successful Bidder for any of the Non-Core Assets shall provide the Debtors with a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases that it intends to assume within the timeframe set forth in the applicable asset purchase agreement, and the Debtors shall post such schedules on the Case Website as soon as practicable thereafter. Other than the date changes set forth herein with respect to Lots 3, 4, 8, and 9, or as otherwise set forth herein, the Bidding Procedures provided in the Bidding Procedures Order remain in full force and effect.” That bidding order was issued by the court on Nov. 25 and was used to conduct the sale of the core assets to be sold to Coal Acquisition.

The bankruptcy court on Jan. 8, following a Jan. 6 hearing, issued a written order approving the sale of Walter’s main coal mining assets in Alabama to Coal Acquisition.

Coal Acquisition would not acquire the coke plant in Alabama owned and operated by Walter Coke, Walter’s coal mining operations in southern West Virginia or the Choctaw mine in Alabama. The assets it would acquire include: Alabama Underground and Gas, including Mine No. 4 and Mine No. 7; JWR Mine No. 5; Barge Loadout located in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama; Highway 59 Mine; East Brookwood Mine; Blue Creek Coal SalesBlack Warrior Methane Corp. Stock/Black Warrior Transmission Corp. Stock; Port of Mobile Lease; Walter Black Warrior Basin LLC; and Tuscaloosa Resources, Inc. (Swanns Crossing/Carter Mine).

The lots in this bankruptcy court sale process were:

  • Lot 1 – Core Acquired Assets: Alabama Underground and Gas, including Mine No. 4 and Mine No. 7; JWR Mine No. 5; Barge Loadout located in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama (owned by Walter Minerals Inc.); Highway 59 Mine; East Brookwood Mine; Blue Creek Coal Sales; Black Warrior Methane Corp. Stock/Black Warrior Transmission Corp. Stock; Port of Mobile Lease; Walter Black Warrior Basin LLC; Tuscaloosa Resources, Inc. (Swanns Crossing/Carter Mine).
  • Lot 2 – Blue Creek Assets (also known as Blue Creek Energy Project);
  • Lot 3 – West Virginia Assets: Maple Coal Co. LLC, Eagle Mine and Sycamore Mine, including the primary lease with respect to the mining property that is presently subleased from J. W. Walter Inc. (which currently holds the primary lease with Pardee Minerals); and Atlantic Leaseco LLC and its Gauley Eagle Mines.
  • Lot 4 – Taft Assets, which are Choctaw, Robbins Road, Reid School, Blue Ridge, Gayosa.
  • Lot 5 – Walter Minerals land holdings, Alabama non-mining property interests (including the Panther and Howton mines).
  • Lot 6 – J.W. Walter Inc., West Virginia non-mining property interests (does not include lease from Pardee Minerals which will be part of Lot 3).
  • Lot 7 – Walter Land Co., Louisiana non-mining property interests.
  • Lot 8 – Select JWR Assets, including Mine No. 3, North River, Kellerman Prep Plant.
  • Lot 9 – Walter Coke Assets.
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.