Peabody files its bankruptcy plan

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By CARL GREEN

Correspondent 

St. Louis – Peabody Energy has finally filed its bankruptcy plan in St. Louis federal court and says the plan is designed to keep Peabody functioning as an energy producing corporation.

The plan now will be considered by the bankruptcy judge, Barry Schermer, starting with a hearing on Jan. 26. The company has also been securing support for the plan from its creditors.

“The plan charts Peabody’s course forward and reflects an enormous amount of work by the company and multiple creditor groups to advance a proposal that has broad consensus, maximizes the value of the enterprise and paves the way for a sustainable future,” Peabody President Glenn Kellow said.

The plan was filed Dec. 22. By Dec. 30, the company was reporting that creditors holding 40 percent of the company’s “first lien” debt and majorities of those with second lien or unsecured debt had also signed on.

The United Mine Workers noted that most of the company’s union retirees were spun off years ago into Patriot Coal, which went through its own bankruptcy.

Peabody now hopes to emerge from bankruptcy as a public company in the second quarter of this year.

Peabody filed for bankruptcy in April. Since then the court has approved a series of expenditures deemed necessary, including $11.9 million in bonuses to six executives, $3.24 million to 42 office employees, and $5.08 million to a financial consultant.

Some remaining retirees seeking to secure their pensions and health care are in a coalition called “Just Transition” with Native Americans seeking environmental cleanups in their communities. Wyoming, New Mexico and Indiana also are seeking millions for cleaning up mining wastes.

Also last month, Peabody announced it was extending the lease on its global headquarters at Peabody Plaza in downtown St. Louis for two more years, through 2023. The company employs 380 at the office, including a new business services group that handles sales accounting, procurement, payroll and service management.

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