UPDATE 1-Bankrupt coal miner Peabody's lenders approve business plan

Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:04am EDT
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Aug 10 (Reuters) - Peabody Energy Corp said on Wednesday its five-year business plan had been approved by its debtor-in-possession lenders, the first step towards emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Peabody, the biggest U.S. coal miner, filed for bankruptcy protection in April after a sharp drop in coal prices left it unable to service its $10.1 billion debt, much of it incurred for to expand in Australia.

The bankruptcy ranks among the largest in the commodities sector since energy and metal prices began to fall in 2014.

The St. Louis-based company said it was aiming for total annual sales of 194 million to 197 million tons between 2018 and 2021, up from an expected 168 million tons in 2016. Revenue over the period is expected to be $4.4 billion to 4.6 billion.

Peabody said it would review its assets in Australia to run a "smaller but more profitable" basis.

The company said in May it would sell its interest in undeveloped assets in Queensland for A$104 million (now $80.6 million) to Sydney-based Pembroke Resources, backed by private equity firm Denham Capital.

($1 = 1.2908 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Ted Kerr)