By Chris Lange
March 7, 2017 - The term unicorn has been thrown around a fair amount in the past year when looking at the initial public offering (IPO) market. Usually this term refers to a start-up company valued over $1 billion without an established performance record. In the IPO sense these are rarities, hence the moniker of unicorn. But something has filed for an IPO that market has not been seen in a while, a true rarity: a coal company.
The coal industry has been absolutely beat down in recent memory, with more companies consolidating or getting out of the business than entering. So it is surprising to see a coal company come forward and file to be publicly traded, considering the industry’s history.
Warrior Met Coal has filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its IPO. No pricing details were listed in the filing, but the offering is valued up to $100 million. The company intends to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HCC. Keep in mind that this company was formerly Walter Energy.
The underwriters for the offering are Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets, Apollo Global Securities, Clarksons Platou Securities and KKR.
This is a large scale, low-cost U.S.-based producer and exporter of premium met coal, operating two highly productive underground mines in Alabama, Mine No. 4 and Mine No. 7, that have an estimated annual production capacity of 7.3 million metric tons of coal.
According to Wood Mackenzie, in 2017, Warrior is expected to be the largest seaborne met coal supplier in the Atlantic Basin, and a top 10 supplier to the global seaborne met coal market. At the end of December 2016, based on a reserve report prepared by Marshall Miller, its two operating mines had approximately 107.8 million metric tons of recoverable reserves and, based on a reserve report prepared by Norwest, its undeveloped Blue Creek Energy Mine contained 103.0 million metric tons of recoverable reserves. The premium hard coking coal it produces at Mine No. 4 and Mine No. 7 is of a similar quality to coal referred to as the “benchmark HCC” produced in Australia, which is used to set quarterly pricing for the met coal industry.
For the year ended 2015, the company generated sales of $514.3 million, but incurred costs of sales of $601.5 million.
The company will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the common stock in this offering. Instead, all the net proceeds will be received by the selling stockholders.
For some background on the company: Warrior Met Coal was formed on September 3, 2015, by certain lenders under Walter Energy’s 2011 Credit Agreement, dated as of April 1, 2011, and the noteholders under Walter Energy’s 9.50% senior secured notes due 2019 in connection with the acquisition by the company of certain core assets of Walter Energy and certain of its wholly owned subsidiaries related to its Alabama mining operations.