Patriot nears financing to exit bankruptcy

TROUBLED producer Patriot Coal is in the preliminary phase of securing $US576 million in financing to help it emerge from bankruptcy.

Donna Schmidt

According to a US Bankruptcy Court filing obtained by Dow Jones Business News, Patriot asked for permitting to Barclays Bank and Deutsche Bank AG to set up and syndicate the financing.

The news comes just after a $250 million rights offering was backstopped by hedge fund Knighthead Capital Management and another $310 million settlement was made with fellow miner Peabody Energy, which spun it off in 2007.

The exit package must be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in St Louis, Missouri, where its case is in process.

It would be made up of a $250 million term loan, a $125 million asset-based revolving credit facility and a $201 million letter of credit facility, according to the news service.

“Exit financing is the last essential component for the debtors' plan and ultimate successful emergence from these Chapter 11 cases,” Patriot officials reportedly said in the court documentation.

DJBN said Patriot was seeking a quick response to its request on Wednesday during a hearing in which the court would also be looking at the miner’s rights offering and restructuring plan outline.

Patriot will sell $250 million in new notes and warrants in a rights offering, should it be approved.

Its bondholders and unsecured creditors will also be able to participate.

The group will share in distribution of the new shares in the restructured producer, while current shares will be cancelled.

Patriot’s proposed settlement with Peabody includes $310 million over four years to fund a trust for retiree health benefits.

Patriot’s bankruptcy case was initially filed in New York state in July 2012.

It had reported assets of $3.57 billion and debt of $3.07 billion as of the end of May 2012.

The case is formally known as In Re Patriot Coal Corp et al, US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Missouri, No. 12-51502.

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