Blackjewel To Reduce Debt And Enhance Financial Stability Through Court-Supervised Process
July 1, 2019 - Blackjewel, L.L.C. ("Blackjewel") today announced that, to facilitate a financial restructuring of the company's obligations, Blackjewel (and certain affiliated entities) today filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Blackjewel expects its mining operations and customer shipments to continue in the ordinary course throughout the court-supervised process.
"Today's announcement represents another significant step in our continued efforts to position the company for long-term success," said Jeff Hoops, Blackjewel's founder and CEO. "After carefully evaluating our options, we determined that the best way to solidify our financial position and strengthen our balance sheet was to proceed with a comprehensive financial restructuring under court protection. We are confident that this restructuring will solidify Blackjewel's position as a significant participant in the US coal market."
"Through the hard work and commitment of our employees, we have implemented various proactive measures over the past several years to adapt to the unprecedented challenges in the coal markets and shifts in the regulatory landscape," Hoops continued. "Thanks to these efforts, Blackjewel will continue as a significant player in the U.S. coal industry for the foreseeable future. Although Blackjewel was able to adequately manage its liquidity and continue its operations for several years while scores of its competitors filed for bankruptcy, it very recently lost the support of its senior secured lender. This impacted short-term liquidity which necessitated today's actions. Having carefully reviewed the options available, we determined that this court-supervised process is the best way to strengthen our financial foundation and position Blackjewel to remain a trusted partner to our vendors and customers. This action also means Blackjewel will continue to: provide high quality jobs to thousands of valued employees; remain a strong contributor to our local communities; and, provide products to the critical US energy market."
Hoops added "the Company has arranged post-petition financing which is subject to court approval. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that a reorganization under Chapter 11 will be successful. If approved, the new DIP financing and cash generated from Blackjewel's ongoing operations is expected to provide the liquidity necessary to support the business during the reorganization process and allow the company to continue operations and customer shipments in an uninterrupted manner during the court-supervised process."
Blackjewel Coal has filed various motions with the Bankruptcy Court supporting its reorganization, including requesting authorization to continue paying employee wages and providing health care and other benefits. The company intends to pay suppliers in full for goods and services provided after the filing date of July 1, 2019.
Additional information is available on the website administered by Blackjewel's claims agent, Prime Clerk, at https://cases.primeclerk.com/Blackjewel. This website also includes court filings and other documents related to the reorganization.
Squire Patton Boggs is serving as legal advisor to Blackjewel, FTI Consulting has been retained as Chief Restructuring Officer and financial advisor and Jefferies LLC is serving as the company's investment banker.
U.S.-based Blackjewel LLC is one of the nation's top coal producers supporting both the global steel and power generation industries. Its network of mining complexes is one of the most diversified in the United States including major operations in Appalachia and the Powder River Basin. The company controls more than 1.2 billion tons of high-quality metallurgical and thermal coal reserves.