Peabody Plans to Fire 250 Workers, Close Two U.S. Offices

Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer, plans to fire about 250 workers in the coming months and close offices in Indiana and Wyoming amid falling demand and prices for the fossil fuel.

The moves are expected to save the company $40 million to $45 million annually, St. Louis-based Peabody said Monday in a statement.

The job cuts represent about a quarter of Peabody’s corporate and regional-support positions. Peabody is also reviewing its shifts, scheduling and mine planning in Australia to determine how much coal it should produce there, the company said.

“Today’s announcement represents another necessary step to drive the company lower on the cost curve,” said Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow in the statement.

Peabody and other producers are struggling amid the industry’s worst downturn in decades as low-cost natural gas competes with thermal coal used by power plants, while several countries adopt tougher emissions standards. The metallurgical coal used in steelmaking is selling at a seven-year low amid slowing demand from China.

Peabody fell 4.4 percent to $3.06 at the close in New York on Monday, after touching an all-time low of $3.03.

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