Big Coal Faces Steel Slowdown Amid Shale-Gas Pain
Four of the largest U.S. coal producers made $20 billion of acquisitions last year to reduce their dependence on the domestic power industry. Instead those deals have added to the companies’ pain.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR), Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) and Walter Energy Inc. (WLT) completed takeovers that boosted sales of metallurgical coal used in steelmaking. The companies bet that the coal, which sells for a higher price than the thermal variety burned to generate electricity, would benefit from booming Asian demand and counter threats from falling natural-gas prices and extra environmental regulation.