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Coal giant Peabody files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

BECKLEY, W.Va. — It’s been expected for months, but finally happened Wednesday — Peabody, the nation’s largest coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection amid an industry struggling with a plethora of finance forces.

Last month, the company told investors that “sustained depressed” coal prices had placed the St. Louis-based company on the cusp of insolvency.

And then Wednesday, the company announced in a statement it is taking a step to strengthen liquidity and reduce debt amid an unprecedented industry downturn by voluntarily filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the majority of its U.S. entities.

The statement says that Peabody intends to use Chapter 11 as a way to reduce its overall debt level, lower fixed charges, improve operating cash flow and position the company for long-term success…

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