U.S. court backs FTC lawsuit to block Peabody, Arch Resources JV

Coal miner Peabody Energy said on Tuesday a district court has upheld the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit to block the company’s joint venture with Arch Resources in Wyoming.

The FTC in February moved to block the venture, which combined the Powder River Basin and Colorado assets of the firms, claiming it would eliminate competition. Peabody and Arch had then said they intended to challenge FTC’s decision and would continue to pursue the JV.

The court ruling signals more woes for coal miners, which have suffered due to increasing competition from cheap and abundant gas and subsidized renewable energy, along with rising public concern over climate change.

Peabody’s shares fell more than 16% after the ruling, while Arch was down 8.2%.

The JV was formed in June 2019, combining two productive and adjacent U.S. coal mines – Arch’s Black Thunder mine and Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle mine. It was owned 66.5% by Peabody and 33.5% by Arch.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, Arch said it has terminated a thermal asset joint venture with Peabody and plans to pursue strategic alternatives.

The company added it would continue to streamline its corporate structure as part of its ongoing transition into a pure-play metallurgical coal producer.