Alpha designates executives to run Contura coal operations to be sold to creditors

Alpha Natural Resources on June 15 filed with its bankruptcy court a list of current executives that will transfer over to the “NewCo” companies that will take on Alpha’s largest coal mines under Alpha’s reorganization plan filed with the court on June 2.

Among other things, the plan contemplates the sale of certain assets (collectively called the “NewCo Assets”) to a newly-formed entity (“NewCo”) to be owned primarily by Alpha’ first lien prepetition lenders. The purchase of the NewCo Assets will be on the terms of an updated Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) to be filed with the court by June 22. The court handling the case is the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The NewCo assets include Alpha’s largest mines, the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte strip operations of Wyoming, which are under Alpha’s Alpha Coal West Inc. subsidiary. Alpha would retain other assets, mostly in Appalachia, under a reorganized company structure.

Under their Debtor in Possession (DIP) Credit Agreements, the Alpha companies will be in default of their post-petition financing arrangements if the effective date of the reorganization plan does not occur by July 31, the company noted. “If the Plan is confirmed, the sale of NewCo Assets will close as part of the transactions to occur in connection with the Effective Date,” Alpha noted. 

The only feasible means to prepare for a prompt closing of the NewCo sale is for certain Alpha employees to take on officer roles at the NewCo Companies on an interim basis for the sole purpose of assisting in preparations to consummate the sale of the NewCo Assets if the plan is confirmed. This work will be administrative in nature, and none of these “Designated Employees” will be exercising any material decision-making role for the NewCo companies prior to the effective date, Alpha said.

Tthe First Lien Lenders have established the following entities that comprise the NewCo companies: Contura Energy Inc.; Contura Energy LLC; Contura Energy Services LLC; Contura Mining Holding LLC; Contura Coal Sales LLC; Contura European Marketing LLC; Contura Terminal LLC; Contura CAPP Land LLC; Contura Wyoming Land LLC; Contura Pennsylvania Land LLC; Contura Freeport LLC; and Contura Coal Resources LLC.

None of the Designated Employees is a member of executive management of Alpha, or has, or will have, any material decision-making power in connection with the plan or any aspect of the Chapter 11 cases. Likewise, none of the Designated Employees has had, or will have, any role in negotiating or finalizing the Stalking Horse APA, said Alpha.

Executives on the Contura list include:

  • Stanley E. Bateman Jr., currently Senior Vice President-Operations of Alpha Natural Resources Services LLC, to be Manager and President of Contura Energy LLC, Manager and President of Contura Energy Services LLC and Manager and President of Contura Mining Holding LLC;
  • William D. Clay, currently Senior Vice President–Optimization & Distribution of Alpha Coal Sales Co. LLC, to be Manager and President of Contura Coal Sales LLC, Manager and President of Contura European Marketing LLC and Manager and President of Contura Terminal LLC;
  • Victoria C. Duffy, currently Vice President of Alpha Land and Reserves LLC, to be Manager and President of Contura CAPP Land LLC;
  • W. Michael Lepchitz, currently Vice President of Alpha Wyoming Land Co. LLC, to be Manager and President of Contura Wyoming Land LLC;
  • Eric D. Salyer, currently Vice President–Operations of Maxxim Shared Services LLC, to be Manager and President of Contura Pennsylvania Land LLC, Manager and President of Contura Freeport LLC, Manager and President of Contura Coal Resources LLC and Manager and President of Contura Pennsylvania Terminal LLC;
  • Shane D. Durgin, currenly President of Alpha Coal West Inc., to be Manager and President of Contura Coal West LLC;
  • Kenneth E. Ferguson, currently Vice President of Alpha Coal West Inc., to be Vice President of Contura Coal West LLC;
  • Robert C. Gordon, currently President of Alex Energy Inc. (a West Virginia company), to be Manager and President of Nicholas Contura LLC; and
  • Thomas M. Keith, currently President and Manager of Paramont Coal Co. Virginia LLC, to be Manager and President of Paramont Contura LLC.
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.