Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Article excerpt

S&P expects Peabody default * Standard and Poor's downgraded Peabody Energy's corporate credit to 'D' Friday as the debt rating firm predicted the St. Louis-based company will default on its obligations.

The downgrade to S&P's lowest rating dropped Peabody several notches from 'CCC+' that the New York financial firm had previously rated the coal miner. It comes just days after the country's largest coal company disclosed it would skip an interest payment and utilize a 30-day grace period as it continues to negotiate with lenders. The company also disclosed it may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and that some of its lenders may elect to accelerate its debt obligations.

"In our view, the enormous stress on Peabody's business and financial position will not ease anytime soon," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Chiza Vitta said in a statement. "The 'D' corporate credit rating indicates our expectation that this situation will eventually evolve into a general default, and Peabody may choose not to pay all or substantially all of its obligations as they come due."

Peabody spokesman Vic Svec said the downgrade was "an expected implication of this week's disclosures."

Foresight misses bond payment * Foresight Energy LP failed to make a $23.6-million interest payment, causing debt rating firm Standard and Poor's to declare that the St. Louis based coal miner had defaulted about $600 billion in bonds. As a result, S&P downgraded it to a "D" rating.

Because of the failure to make the bond payment, Foresight also triggered multiple default events under existing debt and financing agreements, New York-based S&P said.

Though the payment was due in mid-February, Foresight took advantage of the grace period, which had ended this week. The company continues to talk with creditors in an attempt to restructure more than $1.2 billion in debt. …

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