Complex Sale Preserves Economic Opportunities in Four Corners

Led by Meg Meister and Walter Stern and working collaboratively with BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal, Inc.’s in-house counsel and executive team, Modrall Sperling successfully completed the stock sale of BHP Billiton’s San Juan Coal Company (SJCC) and San Juan Transportation Company to Westmoreland Coal Company and its subsidiaries.  The transaction was multi-dimensional and interconnected to other matters.  Simultaneous with the closing of the mine sale,  the ownership of the San Juan Generating Station, SJCC’s customer, a large coal-fired electric generating station in the Four Corners region on New Mexico was restructured and a new coal supply agreement between Westmoreland and Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), operator of the Four Corners Generating Station, became effective, leading to electric savings for PNM’s customers.  The mine sale and related matters triggered PNM’s need for regulatory approval to close a portion of the San Juan Generating Station, and to retrofit the remaining units of the plant with new environmental and pollution control technology.  PNM’s regulatory approval was met with significant resistance from anti-coal NGO’s, but was ultimately successful.

Modrall Sperling led vendor due diligence; negotiated and prepared the stock purchase agreement and related agreements; obtained requisite third party consents, and facilitated operating permit transfer.  The transaction allows ongoing operation of SJCC’s San Juan Mine and the San Juan Generating Station, and the preservation of important employment and economic development opportunities for northwestern New Mexico.