Why Westmoreland Coal Company Shares Jumped Today

Is Westmoreland's rise meaningful? Or just another movement?

Apr 29, 2014 at 3:56PM

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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Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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