While neither Ranger nor National has publicly commented on the move, former National president and chief executive officer Dan Roling was one of those told last week by Southern Coal officials that they were being laid off, at least temporarily, according to local newspaper the Knoxville News Sentinel.
"We were told December 28 that the new owners have decided to make some changes, and they have temporarily laid off all the operational people in mining and temporarily closed the mines that National Coal was operating," the paper quoted Roling as saying.
"As far as the corporate office in Knoxville, that is being permanently closed, and the field office in Jacksboro is being permanently closed."
Roling reportedly was not told anything further on Southern Coal’s plans. All former employees with benefit or employment questions have been given contact information for the new owners and National’s headquarters office phone instructs callers via automated message to contact Southern.
National Coal was purchased December 15 by Ranger, the acquisition arm of Appalachian industry asset businessman Jim Justice. Justice initially announced the $US1 per share cash transaction in September.
A majority of National’s shareholders voted in favor of the takeover at a special meeting in early December.
As of December 15, National became a wholly owned subsidiary of Ranger Energy, which also holds Southern, and its stock trading ceased.
National Coal operated coal mines throughout eastern Tennessee and its customers included southeastern US electric utilities.