Coal-Miner Peabody’s Secondary Offering Costs the Company $40 Million

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Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) priced an underwritten secondary stock offering of 12.8 million shares after markets closed Thursday without specifying the per-share price. The shares on offer are being sold by subsidiaries of Discovery Capital Management, and none of the proceeds will go to the company.

Peabody intends to repurchase from the underwriter approximately $40 million of the Discovery Capital Management shares included in the offering. At Thursday’s closing price of $27.94, that would amount to around 1.4 million shares.

Peabody Energy emerged from an $8 billion bankruptcy in early April and began trading again at $31.50 a share. The stock fell below $30 on the first day of trading, but ended up at $31.00. Since then shares have posted a low of $22.58.

According to a prospectus filed on Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the selling stockholders will determine at what price they may sell the shares, and such sales may be made at fixed prices, at prevailing market prices at the time of the sale, at varying prices determined at the time of sale or at negotiated prices.

Enthusiasm for the return of coal-fired power generation has just about run out. Through the first half of 2017, coal production rose from 331 million tons to 389 million tons. Sounds good, but according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, that’s not much to cheer about:

[Coal production in the first half of 2017 was] at least 45 million tons less than in any of the past 30 years (except for 2016). For this year—the full year, January through December—the EIA forecasts total production of around 785 million tons, which would make 2017 the worst year (other than 2016) for U.S. coal producers since 1983.

Peabody’s stock traded down about 1.5% in Friday’s premarket session at $27.51, after closing down about 1% on Thursday. The current trading range is $22.58 to $32.50, and the consensus 12-month price target is $34.86. The low price target from four analysts covering the stock is $32 and the high target is $40.