Patriot to tackle debt through share offering

IN an effort to repay a revolving credit line balance, Appalachian-focused producer Patriot Coal will launch a public offering of 12 million shares of common stock.
Patriot to tackle debt through share offering Patriot to tackle debt through share offering Patriot to tackle debt through share offering Patriot to tackle debt through share offering Patriot to tackle debt through share offering

A Patriot Coal operation

Donna Schmidt

Valued at $US7.90 per share, the equity raising will equate to 15% of Patriot’s current shares outstanding.

The producer has granted the managing underwriters a 30-day option to purchase an additional 1.8 million shares, with Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank serving as the joint book-running managers.

Earlier this week, Patriot said it had come to an agreement with a major customer on coal shipments for the remainder of 2009. The client had previously deferred shipments but will now take the originally contracted volumes for 2009 and make a cash payment to Patriot to make up for shortfalls in the year’s first half.

The payment, due to arrive this month, will be a large contribution to the producer’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the second quarter, Patriot chief executive officer Richard Whiting noted.

“We have successfully restructured a coal supply agreement that is integral to our financial results, solidifying Patriot's earnings relative to this contract, while addressing our customer's needs,” he said.

“As changing circumstances warrant, we will continue to work toward mutually beneficial arrangements with our customers that maintain the full value of our contracts."

Patriot also updated its production guidance as of June 15, noting it has “substantially committed” its 2009 output.

For the full year, the company anticipates sales of about 33.5-35 million tons.

In the second half of the year, Patriot’s Appalachian thermal production is anticipated to be 11.1Mt at an average price per ton of $58.

Appalachian metallurgical coal product will total about 2.5Mt at $105/t, and the Illinois Basin thermal coal product will average 3.8Mt at $37/t.

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