Last year, Peabody Energy Corp. faced bankruptcy and over $2 billion in losses.
Now, executives at the world’s largest private-sector coal company stand to take in tens of millions of dollars in stock bonuses under Peabody’s bankruptcy exit plan. The deal reserves 10 percent of new shares for employees.
The CEO would receive about $15 million, while the other five executives would take in between $3 million and $5 million.
But some creditors and shareholders challenging Peabody’s bankruptcy say the executives could make significantly more. They say the company’s estimate dramatically undervalues the stock.
These critics say President Trump’s election and promised deregulation, along with policy changes in Beijing that have boosted Chinese coal demand, make the shares much more valuable.
Creditors say they are being shortchanged by company executives and hedge funds that hold most of the company’s debts. A lower share value would benefit the hedge funds, as they would receive more shares of a massive player in a suddenly booming industry.
Some shareholders and creditors will oppose Peabody’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan when the company seeks approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis next month.
The company predicts it will be worth $310 million. Critics say the stock could be worth up to three times as much.