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Cloud Peak Energy reviewing potential sale of the company, engages advisers

Cloud Peak Energy Inc. announced it has engaged a financial adviser and legal counsel to commence a review of strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the company.

Cloud Peak is the only pure-play Powder River Basin coal company and despite some export opportunities, the company has struggled over geologic and operational challenges alongside tepid demand from domestic U.S. utilities. It was one of the largest publicly traded coal companies to avoid a bankruptcy court restructuring that swept across the industry in the last downturn in the market, but its stock price has suffered in recent months.

"While our board is undertaking this strategic review, Cloud Peak Energy remains focused on executing against our operational and financial priorities," Cloud Peak President and CEO Colin Marshall said in a Nov. 13 news release. "We will continue to adjust our business to the structural changes in the U.S. coal industry and to position our company for future growth opportunities."

In a separate announcement, the company said it elected to terminate its undrawn credit agreement with PNC Bank NA and a syndicate of lenders, effective Nov. 15. The company had previously reported it was considering terminating its amended credit agreement to avoid falling into noncompliance with the agreement, as it forecast it would within 12 months.

The termination of the undrawn credit agreement does not constitute a default, and the company reported $109.5 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30. Cloud Peak said it did not historically use the credit agreement as a source of working capital and had no current plans to draw on the credit agreement.

The company operates three surface mines in the Powder River Basin, two in Wyoming and one in Montana. The company sold approximately 58 million tons of coal from those mines in 2017.

Cloud Peak engaged J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as its financial adviser and Allen & Overy LLP as its legal counsel in connection with the strategic review.