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Alpha announces stalking-horse bid

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World Coal,

A group of Alpha Natural Resouces’ existing lenders has agreed a US$500 million stalking-horse bid for the coal producers core assets, including the company’s three biggest mines: Eagle Butter and Bell Ayr in Wyoming and Cumberland in Pennsylvania.

The deal, which aims to set a floor for an auction process, also includes mining assets in West Virginia, as well as the company’s Marcellus Shale natural gas business.

“As part of our overall restructuring effort, we believe this process will provide the best chance of preserving jobs and maximizing the value of the broader enterprise for all stakeholders,” Alpha said in a statement.

The deadline for submitting competing offers is 28 March and any deal would need approval of the Bankruptcy Court. Should a deal be completed, Alpha said it hoped to emerge from Chapter 11 protection in the summer.

A previous sales process for its Central Appalachian mines ended without a buyer after management declined to complete any sale based on the value of the bids. Those assets remain up for sale.

Over the past month, Alpha has announced hundreds of job losses and the closure of a number of mines in West Virginia.

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