Centura Energy to file initial public offering

August 2, 2017

Contura Energy is betting on the future of coal with plans to raise as much $162 million in an initial public offering.

Contura Energy, which acquired the assets of Alpha Natural Resources after that company filed for bankruptcy two years ago, sees a bright future for the battered coal industry and is betting on the efforts of President Trump. In its initial public offering filing, the Trump is mentioned 13 times and the “current administration” is mentioned five more times.

“The coal industry is expected to benefit from a reduced regulatory burden via recent and ongoing legislative and administrative action,” Contura wrote in the prospectus.

Contura Energy points to the Trump administrations repeal of the Stream Protection Rule, the motions to undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord as legislative steps that with benefit the U.S. coal mining sector.

The company is set to become the third American coal mining firm to go public this year, joining Ramaco Resources and Warrior Met Coal (HCC), which formed from the ashes of bankrupt Walter Energy, CNN Money reported.

While still a shell of its former self, the coal industry may be stabilizing after years of destruction.

“It’s definitely on the rebound. It’s hard to say it’s not,” said Andrew Cosgrove, senior metals and mining analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. 

Cosgrove also said the rebound is the result of economics over policy, citing the three companies that are going public will be focused on metallurgical coal and are therefore not competing the natural gas.

Met coal prices spiked to a record in November after China cut production to ease a glut. Prices soared again in April, nearly breaking the record again, after a cyclone in Australia wiped out production.

Contura is still dealing with the health costs associated with the legacy of Alpha Natural Resources. Contura listed unfunded obligations of $20.8 million of workers' compensation and $13.8 million of black lung obligations linked to liabilities it assumed from Alpha.

Wall Street is hoping Contura has more success as a public company than Ramaco Resources, which has struggled badly since going public in February. Ramaco lost more than half its value since debuting, making it 2017's worst-performing IPO, according to Renaissance Capital.



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