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James River Coal Rises After Reporting Convertible Note Swap

James River Coal Co., a producer of the fuel in the Midwest and Central Appalachia, reached a two-month high after the company agreed to exchange about $243.4 million of convertible bonds for $123.3 million of new notes due in 2018.

James River gained 9.9 percent to $2.44 at the close in New York, the highest since March 15.

The company will exchange $90 million of 4.5 percent notes due 2015 and $153.4 million 3.125 percent notes due 2018 for new 10 percent senior convertible notes, the Richmond, Virginia-based company said today in a statement.

“The company reduced its 2015 maturities and, given the challenging coal markets, that’s quite a plus,” Lucas Pipes, a New York-based analyst at Brean Capital LLC, said by phone. “The swap essentially gives them additional time to weather out this current weakness.”

James River idled five underground mines and reduced output at other operations after U.S. demand slowed, the company said March 7. Consumption of the fuel slumped amid mild weather and competition from natural gas.

James River, which has reported a net loss for the last seven quarters, had net debt of $451.9 million as of March 31. The company said May 1 it was evaluating a “wide variety” of options to improve liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet.

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