Why Westmoreland Coal Company Shares Jumped Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Westmoreland Coal Company (NASDAQ: WLB  )  rose more than 10% in Tuesday's early trading, then settled to close up around 7% after the company completed its previously disclosed acquisition of Sherritt International's Prairie and Mountain coal mining operations. Westmoreland also announced it is prepaying certain outstanding secured debt.

So what: Westmoreland's acquisition includes seven producing thermal coal mines in Alberta and Saskatchewan, a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant, and a Char production facility. As of now, this makes Westmoreland North America's sixth largest coal producer.

In addition, as part of its previously announced $425 million 10.75% senior secured notes offering, Westmoreland stated it intends to prepay holders of its 8.02% senior secured notes due in 2018 by the end of May. Before then, Westmoreland will also terminate its existing $25 million credit facility. 

Now what: While this acquisition greatly increases Westmoreland's scale and is expected to be accretive to cash flow, keep in mind, Westmoreland still isn't expected to turn a profit anytime in the near future. As a result, and while Westmoreland is definitely moving in the right direction and working to shape up its balance sheet, I'm still hesitant to jump in right now.

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