2 years ago

Peabody Energy completes acquisition of Alabama met coal mine from Drummond

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) announced on Monday that it has completed its purchase of the Shoal Creek seaborne metallurgical coal mine in Alabama from Birmingham-based Drummond Company, Inc. for $387 million.

Shoal Creek, which employs 450 people, is located on the Black Warrior River in Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties and serves Asian and European steel mills. Its location on the river provides direct access to barge transportation to the McDuffie Coal Terminal at the Port of Mobile, where Panamax and Cape-sized vessels are loaded. The Alabama met coal industry is the port’s biggest revenue source.

A press release explained that the acquisition includes the well-capitalized mine, preparation plant and logistical assets and excludes legacy liabilities other than reclamation. The sale was announced in September, with the final closing amount reflecting customary purchase price adjustments.

Peabody President and CEO Glenn Kellow celebrated the addition as a boon for Peabody’s portfolio and applauded Drummond for its work in developing and operating the mine.

“This accretive Shoal Creek purchase represents a tremendous step in Peabody’s commitment to upgrade our seaborne metallurgical coal portfolio and target the highly attractive seaborne demand centers,” Kellow said.

He added, “We believe the Shoal Creek acquisition clearly meets our strict investment filters, with expected high returns and rapid payback, a very attractive valuation, and tangible synergies. We believe the transaction offers significant strategic and financial benefits for Peabody in our ongoing drive to create additional shareholder value. We applaud the Drummond team for developing and managing this high-quality operation.”

Shoal Creek coal typically prices at or near the high-vol A index, which historically has sold at a modest discount to the Australian hard coking coal index.

The mine produced 2.1 million tons of metallurgical coal in 2017 and sold 2.4 million tons, generating $387.0 million in revenues, $160.8 million in net income and $161.8 million in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Shoal Creek has realized 54 percent gross margins through the first nine months of 2018 on 2.0 million tons produced and 1.9 million tons sold, with realized revenues of $173 per ton, costs of $80 per ton1, net income of $162.1 million and adjusted EBITDA of $163.3 million.

All regulatory requirements were met as required by the conditions to closing, and a new collective bargaining agreement became effective at closing. The new labor agreement provides for a 401(k) program; the prior multiemployer pension plan is no longer effective and related obligations are not included in the acquisition. Prior retiree healthcare liabilities were also retained by Drummond.

“We are very pleased to welcome the productive Shoal Creek workforce to the Peabody team,” Kemal Williamson, Peabody President Americas, emphasized. “Peabody looks forward to safely and quickly integrating the mine into our portfolio and benefitting from the experienced workforce and well-capitalized nature of the operation.”

Shoal Creek has 58 million tons of proven and probable reserves with an initial 17 million tons with minimal anticipated capital requirements under the current mine plan, and additional reserves expected to be accessed with relatively low capital requirements. Shoal Creek uses longwall mining technology to mine both the Blue Creek and Mary Lee coal seams.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

William Bell officially launches campaign to retake Birmingham mayor’s office

Former Birmingham Mayor William Bell officially launched on Monday his campaign to take back the office he held from 2010 through 2017.

Bell, 71, was prevented from earning a third term in office when Randall Woodfin, then-president of the Birmingham City School Board, beat him at the ballot box in 2017.

In his nearly three-minute video announcement released Monday, Bell listed several serious problems he felt Birmingham was facing, including violence in neighborhoods and poorly managed finances.

“Clearly, we need an experienced hand to get us back on track,” Bell intones.

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Though he never mentions Woodfin by name, Bell does not shy away from criticizing the man who ousted him in 2017.

“Four years of ineptitude and mismanagement has our city hurting and adrift,” Bell says in the video.

“The stakes are just too high for the current mayor to learn on the job. He is in over his head, and it shows,” continues Bell.

The announcement video includes images of Bell shaking hands with former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden, two popular figures within the Democratic Party to which Bell belongs.

Other figures who have previously entered the Birmingham mayor’s race include Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales and businessman Chris Woods.

Woodfin has built a sizeable fundraising advantage over the three candidates seeking to unseat him, reporting over $1,000,000 cash on hand in his 2020 year-end finance report.

Bell’s campaign website, with information on his priorities for the city, can be accessed here.

Magic City residents head to the polls on Tuesday, August 24.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

11 hours ago

Watch: U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville delivers maiden floor speech

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Monday delivered his maiden speech on the floor of the United States Senate.

In his remarks, which spanned more than seven minutes, the freshman senator thanked the people of Alabama for sending him to Washington, D.C., spoke about his background as an educator and mentor, and emphasized that he looks forward to serving as Alabama’s voice as the people’s senator.

“In the end, I asked the people of Alabama to trust me with the responsibility of representing them here in Washington,” he said. “And they did. It’s humbling. It’s an opportunity to serve my country that I respect, cherish and will always honor. My staff and I will work hard every day to live up to that trust.”

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Continuing his emphasis on and passion for education, Tuberville subsequently remarked, “One thing I’ve learned, is that education is the key to freedom — freedom to live the life you want. I’ve seen firsthand how education can give you a leg up and a way out. It’s a way to achieve the American Dream. When we empower our young people with a quality education, we give them the gift of an opportunity — the greatest gift our country can give our citizens. And what I’ve found as a coach is that when people are given an opportunity to better themselves, they usually take it.”

He also outlined the following about education:

I found that we are failing our young people by not providing the quality education they deserve. It is not about money. It is about people. It is about what we value and what we each. Improving education in this country should be one of, if not the, top priorities we have. That is why I am proud to be a new member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

On the HELP committee, we need to work together – as a team – to do three things: first, we need to recognize that parents and teachers know how to best educate our young people in their community because we’re all different… We do not need a one-size-fits all education curriculum. What works in San Francisco will not necessarily work in Scottsboro, Alabama.

Second, we should recognize that education takes many forms. Not every student in America needs to go to a four-year college or university. To ensure our country remains competitive in the 21st century, we need to promote STEM education to those students who have an interest in math and science. But, to remain strong, this country also needs welders, plumbers, nurses, equipment operators, electricians, and craftsmen. These jobs have excellent pay and great futures.

If the Democrats want to pass a massive infrastructure bill, they need to first ask: ‘who’s going to build it?’ That’s why I’ll be looking for any opportunity to support career technical programs that prepare a skilled workforce.

And number three: we’ve got to start teaching our young people moral values again. That starts with putting God and prayer back in schools.

Watch Tuberville’s entire maiden floor speech here or below:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine set to accelerate Alabama’s vaccination process

Federal regulators in recent days approved a third vaccine product for use by the public, a decision that is set to enhance Alabama’s vaccination efforts.

Developed by the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the newly approved vaccine is administered in a single dose. The other two approved products, from Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses given weeks apart.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Monday that 40,100 doses of the new vaccine product will be shipped to the Yellowhammer State this week.

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The Johnson & Johnson vaccine product was 100% effective at preventing death from COVID-19 in a worldwide clinical study that enrolled 43,783 participants, more than a third of whom were over age 60.

A recipient of the J&J vaccine is considered vaccinated 28 days after receiving the shot with the product.

“This is a fantastic vaccine, it works really well after one shot,” said Paul Goepfert, M.D., professor of medicine at UAB and director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, during a media briefing on Monday. “I would highly recommend you take it and not wait.”

In terms of preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19, the most commonly reported vaccine metric, the Johnson & Johnson product was 66% effective worldwide and 72% effective in the United States. The same rate for Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine products is around 94%. All three products have been 100% effective at preventing hospitalization from the coronavirus.

An additional benefit of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it can last for three months in a refrigerator, making it able to be stored virtually everywhere in the United States. Moderna’s product requires a freezer and Pfizer’s requires ultra-cold storage that is usually only available at hospitals.

ADPH said the 40,100 doses of the J&J product will be integrated into the state’s previously existing allocation process. Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s State Health Officer, urged the public last week to take whatever vaccine product was being offered at their local clinics.

Alabama has administered over 100,000 doses of vaccine product every seven days since the week ending January 23, and that rate has risen to more than 130,000 doses in each of the last three weeks.

ADPH says 617,768 Alabamians have gotten a dose of the vaccines, which is equivalent to 12.6% of the state’s total population.

(ADPH/Screenshot)

According to ADPH, Alabama will receive 140,000 first doses of vaccine product this week when incorporating the J&J product.

Johnson & Johnson said in a press release that it will deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the United States in the first half of 2021.

ADPH said the 40,100 doses Alabama is getting this week is a one-time allocation, and the department could not provide an estimate for what the state could expect each week going forward. Alabama had been averaging between 90,000 and 100,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna products in recent weeks.

Those eligible to be vaccinated in Alabama are anyone age 65 and over, health care workers, first responders, and several categories of front-line workers.

Alabamians can check their eligibility and see if their local county health office has a vaccination appointment available here.

The portal to book a vaccine appointment at participating Walmarts is available here,

The equivalent program at Sam’s Club stores can be found here.

CVS’s coronavirus vaccine portal, which has several participating stores in Alabama, can be found here.

A complete list of vaccine providers in Alabama can be found at this page, once a user navigates to the “vaccine providers” tab at the bottom.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

12 hours ago

Alabama scores in Top 10 in publication’s 2020 economic development rankings

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Alabama’s ability to overcome the complex challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to economic development earned the state a Top 10 ranking in “Site Selection” magazine’s annual Governor’s Cups analysis.

Alabama ranked No. 9 among the states in job-creating economic development projects per capita, a measurement that places smaller states on a more level playing field in the analysis. The state’s per capita ranking in 2019 was No. 6.

In addition, Huntsville, Decatur, Auburn-Opelika and Cullman all earned high rankings in the 2020 “Site Selection” analysis.

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the positive results in the closely watched Governor’s Cups analysis underscore how economic developers across the state were able to spur job growth and attract new investment amid the pandemic’s uncertainties.

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“These rankings really speak to the commitment of Alabama’s economic development team to identify meaningful opportunities for citizens in our state through job creation and to pursue that mission despite disruptive challenges,” Secretary Canfield said.

“The rankings also serve as a strong reminder that Alabama remains a very attractive location for corporate decision-makers because of a pro-business environment, a motivated workforce and top-ranked job-training programs,” he added.

TOP PERFORMERS

The Governor’s Cups rankings show:

  • With 121 qualified projects in 2020, Alabama finished just outside the Top 10 in the “Site Selection” ranking of the states by number of projects. Pennsylvania was No. 10, with 123 projects.
  • With 9 qualified projects, Decatur ranked No. 2 among metros with a population of less than 200,000 in the total project rankings and No. 4 in the per-capita rankings.
  • Auburn-Opelika placed at No. 6 in this same population category for total projects and No. 9 in the per-capita rankings. The metro had 7 projects counted by “Site Selection.”
  • Huntsville, with 22 projects, ranked No. 3 among metros with populations between 200,000 and 1 million in the per-capita projects ranking. The metro was No. 7 in the total projects ranking.

With 12 projects, Cullman ranked No. 3 among the 2020 Top Micropolitans for number of projects, reinforcing its perennial ranking in this category of the “Site Selection” analysis. The city ranked No. 6 in the previous year.

In an article, the magazine noted how two Cullman companies – HomTex and JELCO – pivoted their traditional manufacturing activities in 2020 to produce much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE.

ATTRACTING INVESTMENT

Atlanta-based “Site Selection” has awarded the Governor’s Cup award each year since 1988 to the state with the greatest number of new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by a proprietary database. In 2014, the magazine launched a per capita category to even the playing field for states with smaller populations. Alabama ranked No. 7 that year.

Qualifying projects are those meeting one or more of Site Selection’s criteria for inclusion in the Conway Projects Database: a minimum investment of $1 million, creation of 20 or more new jobs, or 20,000 square feet or more of new space. It does not track retail and government projects, or schools and hospitals.

“The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses,” said Mark Arend, editor in chief of “Site Selection.”

Ohio ranked No. 1 for projects per capita in 2020, while Texas was tops for the overall number of projects.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

12 hours ago

There is no reason to change Alabama’s voting laws — Other states should be following us

There are two movements in this country right now when it comes to voting:

  1. Open the system up and have no accountability
  2. Make the system secure and trustworthy

If you want a system where no one is ever kicked off the voter rolls, where voter ID is forbidden, where there are 15 days of voting, you are fine with ballots just being mailed out to those never-checked rolls and where any attempt at accountability is treated as “modern-day Jim Crow,” choose option one.

But, if you like the results of the 2020 elections, you know there is a benefit to your side participating in a system that encourages and guarantees fraud. Democrats are trying to do this federally.

Why? Because they can benefit from the fraud it will create.

If you want a system where we know who is voting and we can assure that one person equals one vote, choose option two.

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Alabama’s voting system is near perfect.

Try as they might, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham), of the gerrymandered Seventh Congressional District, and former U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) were never able to prove any instances of voter intimidation or fraud, despite their charges.

2020 saw record turnout, and Alabama’s system is not ensnared in mistrust and chaos.

It works. If you want to vote, you can. If you wanted to vote absentee because of the pandemic, you could.

Yes, you had to have a reason to vote absentee, and you had to still show ID, but the system worked fine.

The attempt to change the system by State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) is a solution in search of a problem.

Yes, the American media will scream about how Alabama’s voting system is unfair, but they can’t back it up. But they also claim there were no issues in 2020 after declaring that the 2016 election was almost certainly interfered with by the Russians.

These claims are made every election cycle, and they will continue to be made. If a Democrat makes them. they will get a pass. The claims will be boosted and investigated to death by the media and their Democrats. But if a Republican makes them, they will be branded with the “without evidence” tag.

But here is the truth — judges changed rules on the fly during the election.

It happened in Alabama, and in some cases, it stood; in others, it did not.

Some changes were used during the election and were clearly unconstitutional.

That is not how the system is designed.

Call it conspiracy if you must. Call it a “Big Lie” if you need to. But there are issues here, and ignoring them won’t make them go away.

Using the momentum of a biased national and local media to pretend Alabama’s election system is broken “without evidence” makes no sense.

Secretary of State John Merrill has famously said that Alabama’s system makes it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.” Unless this is false, there is no reason to change our voting system to open it up for bigger problems.

The nation should be working to copy Alabama’s laws, not the other way around.

Alabama’s system worked, and Hall’s attempt to undermine it should be defeated unless she can actually show some issues with the current system.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.