Misleading climate comments leave coal giant Peabody reaching for settlement

Peabody Energy has agreed to make greater public disclosures in relation to the risks posed by climate changes to businesses after settlement of charges that claim it misled investors and the public.

A two-year investigation found that the publicly-traded coal company’s public statements about the potential economic impact of climate change did not match with the firm’s internal financial projections.

On Monday, Peabody shares were up 4.7 per cent trading at $US15.28 – a small recovery after the stock had lost 88 per cent of its value in 2015 as global energy prices have significantly fallen.

In a statement addressing the results of the investigation, Peabody said that the company has continually sought to make appropriate disclosures.

“Peabody’s past SEC filings regularly denied the company had the ability to predict the impact that potential regulation of climate change pollution would have on the firm’s operations,” the investigation said.

“Their SEC filings and public communications provided incomplete and one-sided discussions of the International Energy Agency’s projects relating to future world coal demand.”

Peabody has agreed to release disclosures relating to the impact of climate change regulations and is expected to include projections about various scenarios used by the IEA to calculate expected coal demand.

In future, the company will avoid claiming that it cannot reasonably project the potential impact of future climate-change related laws and regulations while describing IEA’s projecting global demand for coal. 

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