Commodities & Metals

Patriot Coal’s Starts Bloodbath for Coal Miners (PCX, BTU, ACI, CNX, ANR, JRCC, WLT, CLD, KOL)

Shares of Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) are in freefall this afternoon on a report from Debtwire that the company is seeking a firm to help with its restructuring. The Debtwire report cited at ZeroHedge includes this statement:

Patriot Coal on Friday fielded informal pitches from restructuring advisors, said three sources familiar with the matter. The distressed coal miner aims to retain the professionals in the even[t] the company can’t satisfy its near-term financing needs.

The company failed to syndicate a $625 million bond offering last week after announcing that it lost a key customer. The situation is getting desperate and a bankruptcy filing is a real possibility at this point.

Other coal miners shares are also getting hit hard: Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), which spun-off Patriot in 2007, is down -5%, Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is down -10%, Consol Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is down -3.8%, Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is down -5.5%, James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC) is down -8.4%, Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE: WLT) is down -5.6%, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. (NYSE: CLD) is down -2.8%, and the Market Vectors Coal ETF (AMEX: KOL) is down -2.2%.

The weakness in domestic coal demand has absolutely clubbed the coal miners in the last year or so. Rising natural gas prices have led to some happy talk about coal, but there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for the industry.

Shares of Patriot Coal are down about -45% at $1.84 after posting a new 52-week low of $1.67 earlier today. Peabody also posted a new low of $23.30, as did Arch Coal at $6.84, James River at $3.12, Walter Energy at $48.35, and the Market Vectors ETF at $26.05. And except for Cloud Peak, the others came within pennies of posting new lows.

Paul Ausick

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