By TRAVIS CRUM
HUNTINGTON - Milton-based Revelation Energy, the nation's sixth largest coal producer, filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing at least $500 million owed in liabilities and the inability to make July payroll for its more than 1,100 employees.
The company and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC is "entering chapter 11 with insufficient cash to operate their businesses" and "needs additional liquidity, in addition to the cash flow from operations, to fund and operate their business," according to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The companies, owned by philanthropist and executive Jeff Hoops, operate surface mining operations, deep mine operations and loadout facilities in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, western Virginia and northeastern Wyoming.
"Today's announcement represents another significant step in our continued efforts to position the company for long-term success," Hoops said in a statement. "After carefully evaluating our options, we determined that the best way to solidify our financial position and strengthen our balance sheet was to proceed with a comprehensive financial restructuring under court protection. We are confident that this restructuring will solidify Blackjewel's position as a significant participant in the U.S. coal market."
According to the documents, the companies have 1,000 to 1,5000 creditors and assets valued between $500 million and $1 billion. They owe up to $500 million for royalties in goods and taxes, including more than $233 million to its top 30 creditors.
The companies' total cash balance is $138,000 and they need to make an approximately $5 million payment in unpaid wages to its employees by the end of the July 12 payroll period.
"If the (companies) cannot satisfy their payroll obligations on July 1, 2019, the Debtors will lose the support of their employees and will not be able to continue as a going concern," according to the documents.
Hoops owns the Hoops Family Foundation, which has raised money for Marshall University and Cabell Huntington Hospital. The hospital's children's wing bears its name.
Hoops and his wife, Patricia, are also converting the old Morris Memorial Hospital in Milton into a 189-acre resort and hotel called The Grand Patrician.