Peabody Energy

Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

Nine St. Louis area companies remain on the Fortune 500 list and they are the same employers who made the rankings last year. But there have been some changes in where the companies now stand in the publication’s annual tally based on fiscal year revenue.

The Sugar Camp Energy complex in southern Illinois
Foresight Energy

A St. Louis-based coal company has struck a deal with bondholders of most of its $600-million debt. Foresight Energy's agreement follows months of negotiations after it was partially acquired last year by Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation. Here's what you should know about Foresight Energy as it strives to avoid following  St. Louis-based Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, which have filed for bankruptcy protection.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not clear whether the Peabody Opera House will keep its name.

That’s after Peabody Energy filed for bankruptcy last Wednesday. The St. Louis-based coal giant aims to restructure in the midst of a major downturn for the industry. In its bankruptcy filing, it listed $11 billion in assets and $10 billion in liabilities.

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Energy says all mines and offices will continue to operate even though the St.Louis-based company has filed for bankruptcy. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says the move allows Peabody to seek an in-court solution to its debt problems.

The country's two largest coal mines are each laying off roughly 15 percent of their employees. Peabody Energy and Arch Coal both announced the layoffs Thursday morning. The cuts will affect roughly 235 workers at Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle mine and 230 at Arch's Black Thunder mine.

(Peabody Energy, via Wikipedia Commons)

Peabody Energy has three coal mines in far southern Illinois, all of which are still producing coal.

When those mines eventually shut down, the company is required by state and federal laws to pay for the clean-up and reclamation of the land. St. Louis-based Peabody has guaranteed the state of Illinois it has the estimated $92 million to cover that work.

But as the company considers bankruptcy, some question whether the St. Louis-based company’s promise is worth much.

Peabody Energy
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy says it may have to file for bankruptcy.

The St. Louis-based coal company filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Peabody Energy
(courtesy Peabody Energy)

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy could be headed for bankruptcy court.

In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week Peabody said some of the company’s senior lenders are pushing the coal giant toward in-court restructuring. That comes as Peabody is trying to sell three mines to Bowie Resource Partners in a deal worth $463 million.

coal
(flickr, Atze van Dijk)

Bob Sandidge has been in the coal industry for 40 years.

But he’s never seen it this bad.

"You turn around and one company lays off people, and another company just filed for bankruptcy and another company is cutting way back,"” he said.

The co-owner of S & L Industries in Saline County, Illinois, Sandidge does contract work in coal mines. He said even small business owners in the area are beginning to feel the effects of coal’s downturn.

"It’s been pretty quiet around here," he said.

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:30 a.m., Jan. 5 with details of new agreement - A health fund for retired miners will stay solvent for at least 10 more months.

Peabody Energy and the United Mine Workers of America have reached an agreement. The company will pay $75 million into the health fund this year, but will not have to pay $70 million next year.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is revising how it anticipates efforts to address climate change could affect the company's bottom line.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry has hit hard times.

This summer several coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, is not immune. The coal giant’s share price has fallen nearly 97 percent in the last five years. The company recently did a reverse stock split, bundling 15 shares into one in order to avoid share prices going below $1.

Peabody Energy spokesman Vic Svec said as a commodity business, they’re used to the volatility.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

(Updated at 12:20 pm July 30, 2015 with Arch Coal quarterly results)

St. Louis-based Arch Coal has followed Peabody Energy this week in posting a significant quarterly loss. The company says its net loss widened to $168 million, compared to roughly $97-million for the same period a year earlier.
(Read the Arch Coal earnings report)

"Arch continues to weather the significant market challenges facing the industry," said Chief Executive Officer John W. Eaves.

(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated June 30, 2015 with appeals court ruling - A Missouri appeals court panel has rejected an effort by St. Louis-based activists to limit the economic incentives by the city to Peabody and other energy companies.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy is cutting about 250 corporate and regional positions.

The St. Louis-based company’s President and CEO Glenn Kellow made the announcement on Monday. The company expects to save $40- 45 million annually after the cuts go into effect.

"While we regret the impact that these actions have on employees, their families and communities, today’s announcement represents another necessary step to drive the company lower on the cost curve," said Kellow in a statement.

UMWA protest
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 protection Tuesday, less than two years after emerging from bankruptcy.

Patriot, which was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007, was headquartered in St. Louis until earlier this year. The company is now based in Scott Depot, West Virginia, and filed bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia.

President and CEO Bob Bennett said “challenging market conditions” in coal led the company’s board and management team to make the decision. The company is in negotiations to sell its operating assets to a strategic partner.

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Energy is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed carbon emission rules.

The St. Louis-based coal company took part in the EPA’s hearings on the rule Tuesday morning in Washington D.C. The agency is also holding hearings in Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh Tuesday and Wednesday.

The EPA’s proposed rules seek to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector by 30 percent by the year 2030.

(Molly Gott.)

Peabody Energy is getting protests from all sides.

More than 50 people gathered outside the corporation’s annual meeting Thursday in Clayton, including Washington University students, St. Louis activists, rural southern Illinoisans and  American Indians from Black Mesa, Ariz.

Ten protesters were arrested outside the Ritz-Carlton, where the meeting was held.

The complaints they expressed were as different as their backgrounds, but the group is unified in its opposition to coal.

(Washington University Students Against Peabody)

Seven students at Washington University in St. Louis were arrested Friday after attempting to enter an administration building on the Danforth campus where a board of trustees meeting was being held. The students were among a group of 100 protestors rallying against the school’s connection to Peabody Energy.

Caroline Burney, a Washington University senior, said the protestors were trying to deliver a letter of resignation to Peabody's chief executive officer Greg Boyce, who is also a university trustee.

Washington University Student Protest Continues

Apr 13, 2014
UPI.

Monday marks the seventh day that a group of students at Washington University has conducted a sit-in on campus to protest the school’s relationship with Peabody Energy.

The coal company’s president and CEO, Greg Boyce, sits on the university’s board of trustees. Peabody and other companies help fund research at the college’s Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.

Student Jamal Sadrud-Din says Peabody’s activities harm both the environment and vulnerable communities.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Curry's sleeping arrangement has changed a bit over the last couple of days.

Curry, a junior at Washington University, has been camping out in a tent near Brookings Hall. It's part of a "sit-in" to get Washington University to cut ties with Peabody Energy, a large coal company that's headquartered in St. Louis. 

"I slept out here with my dog Max," Curry said. "So, we spent the night here last night, and we'll be here tonight."

(Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio)

When St. Louis Judge Robert Dierker issued a preliminary injunction against the Take Back St. Louis initiative, it knocked the measure off of the city of St. Louis’ April municipal elections ballot.

But that doesn’t mean the fight is over. Both sides are heading back to court on Monday to potentially decide the future of the ballot initiative.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

A court hearing is set for Friday on a suit to toss out a proposed St. Louis charter amendment, now slated for the April ballot, that would bar tax breaks for Peabody Energy or any other firm involved in “unsustainable energy production.”

The suit was filed last week by three city residents and a law firm, who all claim to be taxpayers who would be affected by passage of the ballot measure on April 8.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. before Judge Robert Dierker. 

(UPI)

Barring a last-minute legal challenge, St. Louis voters will be asked on April 8 to decide the fate of a proposed amendment to the city charter to bar tax breaks for Peabody Energy or any other firm involved in “unsustainable energy production.”

“We know for a fact that it’s going to be on the ballot in April,’’ said Mary Wheeler-Jones, the Democratic elections director for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. The only roadblock would be if a lawsuit successfully knocks the proposal off the ballot, she said.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

The nearly monthly rallies by retired miners in front of Peabody Energy’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis are now a thing of the past.

The United Mine Workers of America, Peabody Energy, and Patriot Coal announced a settlement late Tuesday night.

The UMWA had been pushing Peabody through its rallies and a lawsuit filed in Charleston to pay for retirees’ health benefits after its spin-off, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy last year.

Patriot had largely shed its $1.6 billion liability in healthcare benefits for about 23,000 retired miners and their dependents.

(UPI)

Peabody Energy will have to pay health benefits for retirees of a former subsidiary after an appeals court reversed a federal bankruptcy judge’s decision.

The ruling Wednesday from the three-judge US Court of Appeals bankruptcy panel affects 3,100 retirees attached to Heritage Coal.

Peabody had earlier agreed to continue paying retiree health benefits when Heritage was spun off along with Patriot in 2007.

UMWA Back In St. Louis

Aug 13, 2013
Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

Members of The United Mine Workers of America were in St. Louis again Tuesday, rallying over miners’ retiree benefits.

The protest took place just one day after the union reached a tentative agreement with Patriot Coal.

But officials were turning their attention back to Peabody, which created the now bankrupt Patriot in 2007.

UMWA officials, including secretary treasurer Dan Kane, repeated at the rally in front of Peabody’s headquarters that the corporation is still responsible to its former employees.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis Election Board has certified a proposed St. Louis charter amendment to bar tax breaks for Peabody Energy or any other firm involved in “unsustainable energy production.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A legal fight appears imminent now that MORE, a regional activist group that’s that has been protesting Peabody Energy’s activities for months, has turned in its initiative petitions for a proposed St. Louis charter amendment directed at Peabody or any other firm involved in "unsustainable energy production."

(via Arch Coal)

A fight over retiree health benefits landed in front of Arch Coal’s Creve Coeur headquarters Tuesday morning.

The United Mine Workers of America union argues Arch and Peabody Energy both bear responsibility for 10,000 miners’ health benefits jeopardized in another company’s bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal was spun off from Peabody in 2007 and then bought a former Arch subsidiary in 2008.

The UMWA has filed suit against both Peabody and Arch in West Virginia claiming they purposely shed liabilities such as retirees’ health benefits.

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