Coal firm files bankruptcy

A day after Tulsa-based Alliance Resource Partners announced a drop in its coal business, the nation’s biggest private coal miner, Murray Energy Holdings Co. filed Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy.

The filing was made in Ohio as Murray announced it had entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement with an ad hoc lender group holding more than 60 percent of the $1.7 billion in claims against the company. Murray’s total debt is $2.7 billion and the new agreement provides a $350 million loan to keep operations going during the reorganization.

Voluntary petitions have also been filed for all of the Company’s main operating subsidiaries, including American Energy Corporation, The Harrison County Coal Company, The Marion County Coal Company, The Marshall County Coal Company, The Monongalia County Coal Company, The Ohio County Coal Company, UtahAmerican Energy, Inc., Murray South America, Inc., The Muhlenberg County Coal Company and The Western Kentucky Coal Company, LLC, which operate mining complexes located in Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, Kentucky and Colombia.

The move comes more than a year after the Trump administration’s efforts to subsidize struggling nuclear and coal-fired power plants failed, shot down by Trump’s own appointed energy regulators. Some of those plants were Murray Energy’s customers. Robert Murray, a big donor to Trump’s campaign, was instrumental in setting his energy agenda and has hosted multiple fundraisers according to Bloomberg News.

The company said Tuesday that it named Robert Moore as president and chief executive officer of Murray Energy. Under the restructuring agreement, the lender group will form a new entity — called Murray NewCo — that would seek to acquire the company’s assets, with Murray as chairman and Moore as CEO.