James River Coal Exploring Options Including Sale of Company

James River Coal Co., the unprofitable U.S. miner of the fuel in the eastern U.S., said it’s exploring options including selling itself or issuing debt or equity.

James River has entered into an agreement to retain access to its revolving credit facility during the strategic review process, the Richmond, Virginia-based company said today in a statement. James River has hired Perella Weinberg Partners LP as restructuring adviser, Deutsche Bank AG as M&A adviser and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as legal adviser.

Restructuring advisers including Blackstone Group LP have been pitching creditors, who have not yet formed an official negotiating group, people familiar with the situation, who asked not be named because the discussions haven’t been made public, said on Feb. 3.

James River, which hasn’t posted an annual net profit since 2010, is among U.S. coal producers which have closed mines amid a decline in the price of the commodity. Booming natural gas output from shale rock in recent years has spurred some utilities to switch to gas from thermal coal for electricity generation. Rising Australian output of metallurgical coal used in steelmaking has helped create a global surplus, damping prices.

Elizabeth Cook, a spokeswoman for James River, didn’t immediately respond to a voice message left at her office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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