Arch Coal may get bankruptcy reorganization plan approved on Sept. 13

While it said it should have a confirmable reorganization plan in front of the court at a Sept. 13 hearing, Arch Coal on Sept. 7 asked its bankruptcy court for a 30-day extension of its deadline to file a reorganization plan.

The extension would be from Sept. 7, 2016, to a new deadline of Oct. 7, 2016.

Arch Coal, one of the largest U.S. coal producers, filed on on Jan. 11 for Chapter 11 protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. On July 8, Arch filed with the court its Third Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization, and since then has been working to line up needed creditor support for that plan.

Said Arch in the Sep. 7 extension request: “The Debtors remain on track to confirm the Plan at the omnibus hearing on September 13, 2016 (the ‘Confirmation Hearing’)…. In addition to the substantial efforts required to obtain entry of the Approval Order, confirm the Plan and operate their businesses in chapter 11, since the filing of the First Exclusivity Motion, the Debtors continue to work diligently on multiple fronts to maintain the stability of their businesses and enhance the profitability of their operations using the tools available to them under the Bankruptcy Code, with a focus on maximizing creditor recoveries, continuing to operate safe and environmentally sound mine sites and preserving jobs and benefits for thousands of families.”

The company added: “Although the Debtors remain on track to confirm the Plan at the Confirmation Hearing, the Debtors are filing this Motion out of an abundance of caution as the current Exclusive Filing Period will expire just before the Confirmation Hearing. Accordingly, the Debtors are seeking a 30-day extension of the Debtors’ Exclusive Filing Period, which is both reasonable as compared to extensions approved by this and other courts, as well as sufficient to allow the Debtors to confirm and consummate the Plan.”

The plan would see the company emerge from bankruptcy largely intact, with its ownership held by certain creditors. It had been a publicly-traded company prior to bankruptcy.

Arch Coal had announced Sept. 6 the proposed composition of the new board of directors for the reorganized company. Subject to the bankruptcy court’s confirmation of the company’s Plan of Reorganization, the term of the new board members will begin upon the company’s emergence from Chapter 11.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal is a top coal producer for the global steel and power generation industries. Its network of large-scale, low-cost mining complexes and high-quality metallurgical and thermal reserves are located in the most strategic coal supply basins in the United States. Its biggest coal mine, which is the second biggest in the U.S., is the Black Thunder surface operation in the Wyoming end of the Powder River Basin.

Arch is one of several top coal producers, including Peabody Energy and Alpha Natural Resources, that has in recent months needed to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to an unprecedented downturn in coal markets.

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.