S&P Piles on Alpha Natural Resources

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Yesterday’s announcement of mine closures and production cutbacks at Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) pushed the coal miner’s shares down about 3%. Fallout from that announcement is weighing on the shares again today.

Standard & Poor’s has put the company ratings, including its corporate credit rating of ‘BB-’ on credit watch with negative implications. The ratings firm will review Alpha’s ratings and may reaffirm or lower the ratings following the review.

An S&P credit analyst noted:

“We placed the ratings on CreditWatch following Alpha’s announcement that it plans further production curtailments in 2013, given weaker pricing and demand for both thermal and metallurgical coal,” said credit analyst Megan Johnston. “Alpha now plans 2013 tonnage production around the low-80 million range, down from our previous expectation of 90 million tons. We previously expected 2013 EBITDA of between $750 million and $850 million.”

S&P said it will resolve the rating “within the next several weeks.”

Alpha’s shares are trading down 2.9% at $7.65 in a 52-week range of $5.28 to $29.29.

Paul Ausick

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