“Together we will be America’s largest supplier of metallurgical coal and a highly diversified supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities in the U.S. and overseas,” said Kevin Crutchfield, Alpha’s CEO. “The strategic and operational fit of our two companies is clear and compelling. Together, we are committed to creating a stronger company that has the scale to capitalize on further growth opportunities, succeed in a changing regulatory landscape and maintain the absolute highest standards in safety and environmental excellence.”

“As we demonstrated with the Foundation transaction, we have a proven history of successful integrations since our inception in 2002, and we’ve built a strong track record of creating value through thoughtful strategic growth,” Crutchfield said. “We’re already prepared to launch a seamless integration process, which includes implementing our employee-driven Running Right philosophy of safety and environmental stewardship across the business. This is not just a combination of strong asset portfolios, but a transaction that will empower a combined group of almost 14,000 people and with a focus on continued investment in safety, the environment and our communities.”

The boards of directors of both companies have each approved the terms of the merger agreement and have recommended that their respective stockholders approve the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2011 and is subject to approval by each company’s stockholders and customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.  Alpha has obtained $3.3 billion in committed financing from Morgan Stanley and Citi which, in addition to existing cash balances, will help fund the deal.