Bankruptcy Judge Tamara Mitchell, who approved the auction rules last week, has set January 5 as the day bids will be heard. A hearing to approve the results will be held the following day.
The company already has an offer from its senior lenders for the assets, including its Alabama mines, for $5.4 million in cash and the cancellation of $1.25 billion in debt. The bid can potentially be topped at the auction.
Walter officials reportedly said in previously filed documentation that its liquidity will be exhausted next month if a sale does not come to fruition.
In hopes to satisfy lenders calling for the sale, the producer has requested court approval to reject collective bargaining agreements with unions, including the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and United Steelworkers (USW); about 800 active workers and about 3,000 retirees could be impacted by the plan and could see benefits cut.
The UMWA quickly voiced its opposition to the plan, and both unions have already entered formal objections in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, where the case is being heard.
The case is legally known as In re Walter Energy Inc., 15-02741, and does not include the company’s Canadian or U.K. assets.