Peabody Chapter 11 tops string of U.S. coal bankruptcies

(Reuters) - Tumbling coal prices have pushed six publicly listed U.S. coal producers into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the last one year, according to a Reuters review of regulatory filings.

Global steel oversupply and slowing growth in China have pressured U.S. metallurgical coal producers. Closer home, the U.S. shale boom made natural gas competitive with thermal coal, while stricter environmental regulations raised operational costs.

Ratings agency Fitch estimates 2016 to be the fifth consecutive year of falling prices and volumes for U.S. coal producers.

Energy Information Administration estimates coal production to fall 16 percent in 2016, which would be the largest annual percentage decline since 1958.

Here are the U.S. coal producers that have filed for bankruptcy since April 2015:

April 13, 2016: World's biggest private-sector coal producer, Peabody Energy Corp BTUUQ.PK, filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection after it was unable to service its $10.1 billion debt it incurred mostly for an expansion into Australia. Peabody's bankruptcy filing ranks among the largest in the commodities sector since energy and metal prices began to fall in mid-2014.

Peabody estimated its assets at $11.0 billion and liabilities at $10.1 billion as of the end of 2015, according to court documents.

Jan 11, 2016: Arch Coal Inc ACIIQ.PK, the second-largest U.S. coal miner, filed for bankruptcy protection with a plan to cut $4.5 billion in debt from its balance sheet. At the time of bankruptcy, Arch Coal's notes were trading at a deep discount, with unsecured notes trading in the secondary market at less than 1 cent on the dollar.

Arch Coal estimated its assets at $5.85 billion and liabilities at $6.45 billion.

Aug 3, 2015: World's third-largest supplier of metallurgical coal, Alpha Natural Resources Inc ANRZQ.PK, filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection. At the time of bankruptcy, the company had lost nearly all its stock market values.

The company estimated its assets at $10.1 billion and liabilities at $7.11 billion.

July 15, 2015: Birmingham, Alabama-based Walter Energy Inc WLTGQ.PK filed for bankruptcy protection after reporting a net loss for 12 straight quarters.

The company estimated both its assets and liabilities to be more than $1 billion.

May 12, 2015: Patriot Coal Corp filed for bankruptcy protection just 18 months after emerging from its previous Chapter 11, and said it was in negotiations with a potential buyer.

The company listed assets and liabilities of more than $1 billion in its bankruptcy petition.

April 6, 2015: Birmingham, Alabama-based Xinergy Corp filed for bankruptcy protection. Xinergy, however, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.

The company estimated its assets between $1 million - $10 million and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million in bankruptcy petition.