SOURCE: Walter Energy

Walter Energy

December 11, 2009 15:00 ET

Walter Energy Announces Closure of Walter Coke's Fiber Plant

Coke Plant Expected to Resume Full Production

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - December 11, 2009) - Walter Energy (NYSE: WLT), a leading U.S. producer and exporter of premium coking coal for the global steel industry, announced today that its Walter Coke subsidiary, based in Birmingham, Ala., plans to close its fiber plant, effective immediately. The fiber plant produced approximately 100,000 tons of various slag wool fiber products annually, primarily for use in acoustical ceiling tiles, fireproof cement, miscellaneous refractory board products and building insulation applications.

Employees were notified of the decision earlier today. Approximately 87 positions will be eliminated as a result of the closure. However, more than half of the employees are expected to be retained in other areas of Walter Coke's operation, where recent sales orders are expected to return the plant to full metallurgical coke capacity in the first quarter of 2010.

"The fiber plant was not in our core portfolio and the business has struggled in its current economic environment," said Victor P. Patrick, chief executive officer of Walter Energy. "The plant's closure will allow us to redeploy some of our human resources to a core business."

The Company expects to record a charge of approximately $5.5 to $6.0 million in the fourth quarter 2009 related to the closure.

About Walter Energy

Walter Energy is a leading U.S. producer and exporter of premium coking coal for the global steel industry and also produces steam coal and industrial coal, metallurgical coke and coal bed methane gas. The Company has revenues of approximately $1.2 billion and employs approximately 2,150 people. For more information about Walter Energy, please visit the Company website at