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James River Coal files for restructuring under bankruptcy code

World Coal,

James River Coal Company and its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Unstable industry

The company intends to use the Chapter 11 process to continue implementing a comprehensive turnaround plan to address its challenges in the unstable coal mining industry. James River expects its mining operations and customer shipments to continue as usual throughout the restructuring process.

Restructuring process

As part of the restructuring, James River will enter into a US$ 110 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility with several large financial funds. Upon approval by the Bankruptcy Court, the new financing and cash generated from James River's ongoing operations will be used to support the business during the restructuring process.

US coal markets

Company CEO, Peter T. Socha, commented: "The coal markets in the US have changed dramatically during the past several years. Some of these changes are cyclical due to continued weakness in the real economy. Other of the changes are more permanent like changes in government environmental regulations, improved methods to produce natural gas, and switching between coal basins by domestic power utilities. We have made a number of large and significant changes to our mine operations and administrative overhead in response to the changes in the coal markets. Now we need to adjust our balance sheet and debt structure to align ourselves to the new industry.

Adjust the balance sheet

“We took this action to restructure under Chapter 11 because it will allow us to adjust the balance sheet and improve our liquidity in a controlled and definitive manner. We will also continue to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives for the company, such as a capital investment through a plan of reorganisation or a sale of one or more portions of the company.

Financially secure

“We believe this provides our best course of action to support the best interests of our suppliers, customers, employees and other critical constituents. We believe we will come out of this a much stronger and a more financially secure company."

Employee wages

James River has filed various motions with the Bankruptcy Court in order to ensure the continuation of normal operations, including requesting authorisation to continue paying employee wages and providing health care and other benefits. The company has also asked for authority to continue existing customer programs and intends to pay suppliers in full under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of April 7 2014.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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