| ST. LOUIS, March 16
ST. LOUIS, March 16 Peabody Energy Corp
, the world's largest private sector coal miner,
struck a series of last-minute deals with some opponents of its
plan to exit an $8 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy, lawyers said
in court on Thursday.
One of the settlements was with a group of individual
investors who had argued they were wrongly blocked from a
private stock sale meant to raise financing for the company.
The investors will drop a lawsuit against Peabody and other
parties involved in the bankruptcy following a deal reached late
Wednesday, Peabody lawyer Heather Lennox said at hearing in U.S.
Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis to approve the broader
Peabody's plan, which envisions cutting debt to about $2
billion, is still facing objections from a small group of
creditors who have complained about Peabody's estimated
valuation and the terms of its $750 million private stock sale.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Schermer, who is overseeing the
case, will also hear objections from shareholders, whose stock
will be wiped out in the reorganization, environmental group
Sierra Club and a U.S. bankruptcy watchdog.
Peabody settled earlier objections over its environmental
liability policy by agreeing to cover $1.14 billion of future
mine cleanups with third-party bonds.
The reorganization plan also includes a big stock bonus for
Peabody's top management.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)