Peabody Floats Possible Bankruptcy

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ST. LOUIS, Missouri -

A Missouri-based mining conglomerate with a major presence in Indiana says a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is on the table. Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) operates six mines in Sullivan and Gibson counties and, as coal use and prices continue to dip, recently reported a 2015 loss of more than $2 billion. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company expressed "substantial doubt" about its ability to cover some upcoming debts, citing uncertainty around the global coal industry and potential for additional government regulations.

The company is also worried about stagnant economies in some major markets and said it's unsure if it will be able to "continue as a going concern."

Peabody reports that as of last week, it has $900 million of available liquidity and says it may not be able to meet some significant debt obligations set to be due in a year.

The more than 350-page filing states:

If the company is not able to timely, successfully or efficiently implement the strategies that it is pursuing to improve its operating performance and financial position, obtain alternative sources of capital or otherwise meet its liquidity needs, the company may need to voluntarily seek protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Peabody said it was exploring the idea of selling some U.S mines, identifying properties in Colorado.

The company owns more than two dozen operations throughout the U.S. and Australia and bills itself as the world's largest private-sector coal company. It employs more than 7,500 workers worldwide.

In 2013 and 2014, Peabody trimmed back mining operations in Cannelberg and Vincennes. It's Indiana properties are: Bear Run Mine in Sullivan County, which Peabody says is the largest surface mine in the eastern United States, as well as Gibson County's Wild Boar Mine, Francisco Mine and the north, south and central locations of the Somerville Mine Complex.

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