National Coal shareholders approve sale to Jim Justice

100110coal3.jpg.jpgIt’s official — National Coal Corp. shareholders on Thursday approved the sale of the Knoxville-based company to West Virgina businessman and coal baron Jim Justice.

Justice, who attended the University of Tennessee and graduated from Marshall University, will pay $1 per share, a 54 percent premium over National Coal’s closing price on Sept. 27, the day the sale was announced.

The sale to Ranger Energy Investments LLC, an acquisition vehicle for Justice, is expected to close by Dec. 15.

National Coal operates mines in East Tennessee and has about 155 employees. It provides steam coal to utilities in the Southeast region.

Given National Coal’s recent financial struggles — among other things Nasdaq threatened to delist the and an Alabama subsidiary defaulted on a $60 million loan — it will be interesting to see how the company fares under the Justice umbrella.

Justice has made lots of money in the coal business and grabbed his share of headlines. Last year he sold his West Virginia coal operations to a Russian steel company for $436 million and announced he would buy The Greenbrier, a historic West Virgina resort.

The Greenbrier houses “The Bunker,” a formerly secret facility built during the Cold War to house Congress during a nuclear attack.

More on Jim Justice

West Virginia Public Broadcasting: Jim Justice Profile

Greenbrier’s new owner aims for return to glory

West Virginians Now Learning Who Jim Justice, the Buyer of the Greenbrier Resort, Is

Photo: News Sentinel archives (Submitted photo)

Coal gets gets loaded onto a truck at a surface mine operated by National Coal Corp. somewhere in East Tennessee.