Murray Energy’s recent restructuring proposal includes plans to sell off substantially all of its assets, but a new Murray entity will act as a stalking horse bidder for the assets. The largest privately owned U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy protection in October, and owns and operates 13 active mines.
Under the plan filed in early December in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio, a plan administrator would be appointed to wind down Murray Energy’s and its certain debtor subsidiaries’ assets, resolving any disputes, making final payments and liquidating the company.
The plan also would allow superpriority lenders to direct the superpriority agent to form a new entity, “Murray NewCo,” to act as a stalking horse bidder on the companies’ asset sale and submit an offer. If there are no higher bids on the assets, Murray NewCo would take over the assets.
The plan includes the formation of a trust following the sale transaction to take on all the remaining assets and wind down the estates “with no objective to continue or engage in the conduct of a trade or business, except to the extent reasonably necessary to and consistent with the liquidating purpose of the Wind-Down Trust,” according to the filing. The trust seeks to liquidate and convert the assets into cash to distribute to beneficiaries.
“[T]he plan administrator shall retain the authority to take all necessary actions to dissolve the debtors in, and withdraw the debtors from, applicable states and provinces to the extent required by applicable law,” according to the filing.
Murray NewCo’s new board will include former Murray Energy President and CEO Robert Murray as board chairman as well as Robert Moore, who leads Murray Energy and affiliated company Foresight Energy LP, as president and CEO of the new entity.
Murray NewCo would enter into new employment contracts with employees under the plan.