Murray Energy Emerges From Bankruptcy As a New Company

CLAIRSVILLE — Murray Energy Corporation has been declared bankrupt and will now be American Consolidated Natural Resources, Inc., the union representing the company’s miners. This announcement was made Wednesday.

Cecil Roberts, President of United Mine Workers of America, confirmed that Murray’s assets were transferred to the new company after the bankruptcy proceedings were closed.

As part of the terms that Murray and ACNR agreed to in May, all active union employees will be hired. About 1,800 union workers were employed at the former Murray.

Roberts stated that today is the effective date of the new collective agreement between the UMWA and ACNR, as outlined in the agreement. 

In late October, Murray Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection citing billions of dollars in debt and declining demand for steam coal as its primary product. Murray NewCo was formed. During bankruptcy proceedings, the company was transformed into Murray NewCo.

In a statement, ACNR stated that the restructuring had eliminated more than $8 billion in debt and legacy liabilities from the St. Clairsville-based firm. This allowed ACNR to obtain new financing. ACNR will now have greater financial flexibility. 

The company announced that ACNR would continue to operate Murray’s mines in the usual course of business. ACNR will manage and operate both the Murray Metallurgical and Foresight Energy mines under separate management agreements.

Robert Moore, who is the company’s new president and CEO, stated that “through these complex proceedings, I have been challenged by a global pandemic and extremely volatile coal markets and months of uncertainty.” “Our employees and our business partners faced these challenges, and together they helped move the company to its current emergence.”

The company sent WARN letters in May to 1,522 workers in four Murray Energy locations in Ohio, Marshall, and Marshall counties. They informed them that they would be being terminated by June 17. 

The company also informed 931 workers that two other Murray subsidiaries, Marion County Coal Co. in West Virginia and Marion County Coal Co. in West Virginia, would be closing down. Notices were also sent to nearly 350 workers in six Eastern Ohio locations.

Officials at UMWA stated that WARN notices were issued due to the impending formation of a new company. They also indicated that jobs would likely be retained once Murray is declared bankrupt.

Roberts stated that it seems like those jobs are now secured with Wednesday’s announcement.

He said, “I commend officers and members of our Local Unions ACNR operations for perseverance and patience throughout this proceeding.” It has been a difficult time for them, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. It is difficult to believe that the coal industry’s collapse will bring about much concern for anyone involved in it. However, this is a good thing.

Moore was previously employed at Murray Energy as its Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. He thanked the union and agreed to help with the bankruptcy proceedings. About 4,000 employees work for the company.

Moore stated that “Through the efforts of our dedicated employees and the United Mine Workers of America as well as our secured lenders and trade partners, we are stronger today than when we sought Chapter 11 protection.”


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