Rhino Resources Shelves IPO Plans; Cites Market Conditions

Rhino Resources Inc, a Kentucky-based coal company, shelved plans to float its shares on the New York Stock Exchange late Thursday, citing market conditions, according to Ben Holmes, an analyst with Morningnotes, an IPO research firm. Holmes was informed of the postponement by an underwriter.

Rhino Resources is owned by Wexford Capital LLC, a Greenwich, Conn.-based investment advisory firm that has more than $7 billion in assets under management. It operates both private equity funds and hedge funds.

Earlier on Thursday, the company cut the forecast range for the offering to between $11 and $12 a share from the $16 to $18 range set earlier.

The company’s offering ran into trouble because of falling coal prices and a difficult market for new issuances, said analysts.

“The biggest reason is falling energy prices and commodity prices, and the resulting effect on energy stocks, specifically coal stocks,” said Nick Einhorn, a research analyst on the energy sector at Greenwich, Connecticut-based research firm Renaissance Capital, citing the sharp fall since early July of many coal stocks.

And with the IPO market still sluggish, reluctant investors may have been less forgiving of any sign of trouble.

“Market sentiment was the final guillotine to postpone the deal,” said Scott Sweet, a senior managing partner at advisory firm IPO Boutique.

Rhino Resources would have been the first coal producer to launch an IPO in the United States since Penn Virginia GP Holdings’ $129 million debut in December 2006.

The lead underwriters on the deal were Morgan Stanley and Lehman Bros.

The company had planned to sell 10 million shares, according to a regulatory filing.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)