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Section 1: S-3 (S-3)

S-3
Table of Contents

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 9, 2018

Registration No. 333-          

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM S-3

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

Foresight Energy LP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   80-0778894

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

211 North Broadway, Suite 2600

Saint Louis, MO 63102

(314) 932-6160

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Robert D. Moore

President and Chief Executive Officer

211 North Broadway, Suite 2600

Saint Louis, MO 63102

(314) 932-6160

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

E. Ramey Layne

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2500

Houston, TX 77002

Telephone: (713) 758-2222

Fax: (713) 758-2346

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: From time to time after the effective date of this registration statement as determined by market conditions and other factors.

If the only securities being registered on this form are being offered pursuant to dividend or interest reinvestment plans, please check the following box.  ☐

If any of the securities being registered on this form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, other than securities offered only in connection with dividend or interest reinvestment plans, please check the following box.  ☒

If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐


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If this form is a registration statement pursuant to General Instruction I.D. or a post-effective amendment thereto that shall become effective upon filing with the Commission pursuant to Rule 462(e) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment to a registration statement filed pursuant to General Instruction I.D. filed to register additional securities or additional classes of securities pursuant to Rule 413(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer   ☒  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company  
     Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Each Class of

Securities to be Registered

 

Amount

to be

Registered

 

Proposed

Maximum

Offering Price

per Unit

 

Proposed

Maximum

Aggregate

Offering Price

 

Amount of

Registration Fee

Primary Offering:

               

Common units representing limited partner interests

  —     —     —    

Other classes of units representing limited partner interests

  —     —     —    

Total Primary

  (1)   (2)   $1,000,000,000(3)   $124,500

Secondary Offering:

               

Common Units

  43,846,217(4)   (5)   $181,233,953(3)   $22,563.63(6)

Total

  —     —     $1,181,233,953   $147,063.63(7)

 

 

(1) There are being registered hereunder such presently indeterminate number of common units representing limited partner interests of Foresight Energy LP and other classes of units which represent limited partner interests of Foresight Energy LP, which may be offered and sold, on a primary basis, in such amount as shall result in an aggregate offering price not to exceed $1,000,000,000. This Registration Statement also covers an indeterminate amount of securities as may be issued in exchange for, or upon conversion or exercise of, as the case may be, the securities registered hereunder.
(2) With respect to the primary offering, the proposed maximum aggregate offering price for each class of securities to be registered is not specified pursuant to General Instruction II.D. of Form S-3.
(3) Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”). With respect to the primary offering, in no event will the aggregate initial offering price of all securities offered from time to time pursuant to this Registration Statement exceed $1,000,000,000.
(4) Pursuant to Rule 416(a) under the Securities Act, the number of common units being registered on behalf of the selling unitholders shall be adjusted to include any additional common units that may become issuable as a result of any unit distribution, split, combination or similar transaction.
(5) With respect to the offering of common units by the selling unitholders named herein, the proposed maximum offering price per common unit will be determined from time to time in connection with, and at the time of, the sale by the holder of such securities.
(6) Pursuant to Rule 457(c) of the Securities Act, the registration fee is calculated on the basis of the average of the high and low sale prices of our common units on February 6, 2018, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
(7) The registrant has previously paid $220,430, covering the current registration fee, in connection with the filing of the Registration Statement on August 7, 2015 (File No. 333-205438).

 

 

The registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrants shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a) of the Securities Act, may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to Completion, dated February 9, 2018

Foresight Energy LP

 

 

Common Units Representing Limited Partner Interests

Other Classes of Units Representing Limited Partner Interests

 

 

We may from time to time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell (i) common units representing limited partner interests in Foresight Energy LP (“common units”) and (ii) other classes of units representing limited partner interests in Foresight Energy LP (“other units”). The aggregate initial offering price of all common units and other units sold by us under this prospectus will not exceed $1.0 billion.

The selling unitholders named in this prospectus may from time to time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell up to a total of 43,846,217 common units. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of these common units by the selling unitholders. For a more detailed discussion of the selling unitholders, please read “Selling Unitholders.”

We refer to the common units and the other units covered by this prospectus collectively as the “securities.”

We or the selling unitholders may offer and sell these securities in amounts, at prices and on terms to be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of the offering. This prospectus describes only the general terms of these securities and the general manner in which we or the selling unitholders will offer the securities. The specific terms of any securities that we or the selling unitholders offer may be included in a supplement to this prospectus. Any prospectus supplement will describe the specific manner in which we or the selling unitholders will offer the securities and also may add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. The selling unitholders, which own a substantial amount of our limited partner interests and control our general partner, may be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and, as a result, may be deemed to be offering securities, indirectly, on our behalf.

You should carefully read this prospectus and any prospectus supplement before you invest. You also should read the documents we have referred you to in the “Where You Can Find More Information” and the “Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference” sections of this prospectus for information about us and our financial statements. This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

Our common units are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the ticker symbol “FELP.”

 

 

Investing in our securities involves risks. Limited partnerships are inherently different from corporations. You should carefully consider the risk factors described under “Risk Factors” beginning on page 6 of this prospectus and in the applicable prospectus supplement and in the documents incorporated by reference herein and in any applicable prospectus supplement before you make an investment in our securities.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The date of this prospectus is                     , 2018.

 


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     Page  

About This Prospectus

     1  

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

     2  

Foresight Energy LP

     5  

Risk Factors

     6  

Use of Proceeds

     7  

Description of the Common Units

     8  

Description of the Other Classes of Units

     10  

How We Make Distributions to our Partners

     11  

The Partnership Agreement

     24  

Conflicts of Interest and Fiduciary Duties

     38  

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences

     45  

Investment in Foresight Energy LP by Employee Benefit Plans

     64  

Selling Unitholders

     67  

Plan of Distribution

     69  

Legal Matters

     71  

Experts

     71  

Where You Can Find More Information

     71  

Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference

     72  

 

 

In making your investment decision, you should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus or any prospectus supplement. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with any other information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it.

This prospectus and any prospectus supplement are not an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy, securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale of such securities is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus or any prospectus supplement is accurate as of any date other than the date on the front cover of those documents or any prospectus supplement. You should not assume that the information contained in the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the respective dates of those documents. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of a registration statement on Form S-3 that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, using a “shelf” registration process. Under this shelf registration process, we may over time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell up to $1,000,000,000 in total aggregate offering price of any combination of the securities described in this prospectus. In addition, the selling unitholders may over time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell up to 43,846,217 of our common units. This prospectus provides you with a general description of us and the securities that are registered hereunder that may be offered by us or the selling unitholders. Each time we offer securities with this prospectus, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that offering and the securities being offered. Because the selling unitholders may each be deemed an “underwriter” under the Securities Act, each time a selling unitholder sells any common units offered by this prospectus, the selling unitholder is required to provide you with this prospectus and any related prospectus supplement containing specific information about the selling unitholder and the terms of the common units being offered in the manner required by the Securities Act. Any prospectus supplement may also add to, update or change information in this prospectus. To the extent information in this prospectus is inconsistent with information contained in a prospectus supplement, you should rely on the information in the prospectus supplement. Before you invest in our securities, you should carefully read this prospectus, including the “Risk Factors,” any prospectus supplement, the information incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any prospectus supplement (including the documents described under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information” in both this prospectus and any prospectus supplement) and any additional information you may need to make your investment decision.

All references to “FELP,” the “Partnership,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Foresight Energy LP and its subsidiaries and affiliates, unless the context otherwise requires or where otherwise indicated.

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements and information in this prospectus, and certain oral statements made from time to time by our representatives, may constitute “forward-looking statements.” The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “intend,” “foresee,” “outlook,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “seek,” “approximately,” “predict,” “anticipate,” “should,” “would,” “could” or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, which are generally not historical in nature. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effect on us. While management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made, there can be no assurance that the future developments affecting us will be those that we anticipate. All comments concerning our expectations for future revenues and operating results are based on our forecasts for our existing operations and do not include the potential impact of any future acquisitions. Our forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties (some of which are beyond our control) and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from our historical experience and our present expectations or projections. Known material factors that could cause our actual results to differ from those in the forward-looking statements are described in “Risk Factors” below. Among those factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are:

 

    Access to the necessary capital to fund the capital expenditures required to reach and maintain full productive capacity at our mines;

 

    Adverse or abnormal geologic conditions, which may be unforeseen;

 

    Our ability to develop our existing coal reserves and meet any expected development timeline;

 

    Our ability to produce coal at existing and planned operations;

 

    Delays in the receipt of, failure to receive or revocation of necessary government permits;

 

    Our ability to meet certain provisions in our existing coal supply agreements, enter into new coal supply agreements or extend existing agreements;

 

    Future legislation and changes in regulations or governmental energy policies or changes in enforcement or interpretations thereof;

 

    The outcome of pending or future litigation;

 

    The loss of our largest customers, or significant reduction in purchases by our largest customers;

 

    The availability and costs of competing energy resources, which may affect the economic competitiveness of coal;

 

    Defects in title or loss of any leasehold interests in our properties;

 

    Changes in coal prices or the costs of mining or transporting coal;

 

    Change in final consumption and power generating patterns by utilities;

 

    Competition both within the coal industry and outside of it;

 

    The inherent risk of coal mining operations;

 

    Labor availability, relations and other workforce factors;

 

    Failure of contractor-operated sources to fulfill the terms of our contracts;

 

    The impact of worldwide economic and political conditions;

 

    Volatility in the capital and credit markets;

 

    Customer deferrals of contracted shipments;

 

    Difficulty in obtaining equipment, parts and raw materials;

 

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    Major equipment failures;

 

    Availability, reliability and costs of transportation;

 

    Delays in moving our longwall equipment;

 

    Transportation interruptions such as floodings or derailments;

 

    Uncertainties in estimating economically recoverable coal reserves;

 

    Customer performance and credit risks;

 

    The impact of wars and acts of terrorism;

 

    Costs related to government regulation;

 

    Environmental regulations and impact on customers’ demand for coal;

 

    Material liabilities from hazardous substances and environmental contamination;

 

    The unavailability of insurance to cover certain uninsurable environmental risks;

 

    The contract prices we receive for coal;

 

    Market demand for domestic and foreign coal, electricity and steel;

 

    The consummation of financing, acquisition or disposition transactions and the effect thereof on our business;

 

    Our plans and objectives for future operations and the acquisition or development of additional coal reserves or other acquisition opportunities;

 

    Our relationships with, and other conditions affecting, our customers;

 

    Timing of reductions or increases in customer coal inventories;

 

    Long-term coal sales arrangements;

 

    The number of coal-fired plants built in the future versus expectations;

 

    Weather conditions or catastrophic weather-related damage;

 

    Earthquakes and other natural disasters;

 

    Our ability to obtain services that have otherwise been provided by Murray Energy Corporation, Foresight Reserves and Foresight Management;

 

    Our existing or future indebtedness;

 

    Our assumptions concerning our reclamation and mine closure obligations, including the availability of surety bonds and the levels of collateralization associated therewith; and

 

    Our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition.

These forward-looking statements are largely based on our expectations and beliefs concerning future events, which reflect estimates and assumptions made by our management. These estimates and assumptions reflect our best judgment based on currently known market conditions and other factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statement.

Although we believe our estimates and assumptions to be reasonable, they are inherently uncertain and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that are beyond our control. Our assumptions about future events may prove to be inaccurate. We caution you that the forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus are not

 

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guarantees of future performance, and we cannot assure you that those statements will be realized or the forward-looking events and circumstances will occur. Actual results may differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. When considering forward-looking statements, you should also keep in mind the factors listed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” included in this prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 2017, June 30, 2017 and September 30, 2017 and our subsequent SEC filings. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this prospectus. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. These cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf.

 

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FORESIGHT ENERGY LP

We are a Delaware limited partnership formed in January 2012. We completed our initial public offering on June 23, 2014. We are managed and operated by the board of directors and executive officers of Foresight Energy GP LLC, which is owned by Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves, L.P. (“Foresight Reserves”). We mine and market coal from reserves and operations located exclusively in the Illinois Basin. We control over 2.1 billion tons of proven and probable coal in the state of Illinois, which, in addition to making us one of the largest reserve holders in the United States, provides organic growth opportunities. Our reserves consist principally of three large contiguous blocks of uniform, thick, high heat content (high Btu) thermal coal, which is ideal for highly productive longwall operations. Thermal coal is used by power plants and industrial steam boilers to produce electricity or process steam.

We own four mining complexes where we can operate four longwall mines and one continuous miner operation. We have invested substantially to construct state-of-the-art, low-cost and highly productive mining operations and related transportation infrastructure. Our four mining complexes can collectively support up to nine longwalls, with a portion of the existing surface infrastructure available to be shared among most of our potential future longwalls.

Our operations are strategically located near multiple rail and river transportation access points giving us cost-competitive transportation options. We have developed infrastructure that provides each of our four mining complexes with multiple transportation outlets including direct and indirect access to five Class I railroads. Our access to competing rail carriers as well as access to truck and barge transport provides us with operating flexibility and minimizes transportation costs. We own a 25 million ton per year barge-loading river terminal on the Ohio River and also have contractual agreements for 6 million tons per year of export terminal capacity in the Gulf of Mexico. We have long-term, fixed-price transportation contracts from our mines to these terminals. These logistical arrangements provide transportation cost certainty and the flexibility to direct shipments to markets that provide the highest margin for our coal sales.

We market and sell our coal primarily to electric utility and industrial companies in the eastern half of the United States and in the international market. We sell the majority of our domestic tonnages to electric utilities with installed pollution control devices. These devices, also known as scrubbers, are designed to eliminate substantially all emissions of sulfur dioxide.

Our principal executive offices are located at 211 North Broadway, Suite 2600, Saint Louis, Missouri 63102. The telephone number of our principal offices is (314) 932-6160 and our website is www.foresight.com. Information on our website or any other website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and does not constitute part of this prospectus.

 

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RISK FACTORS

An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. Limited partner interests are inherently different from the capital stock of a corporation, although many of the business risks to which we are subject are similar to those that would be faced by a corporation engaged in a similar business. You should carefully consider the risk factors and all of the other information included in, or incorporated by reference into, this prospectus, including those included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q as well as in our subsequent SEC filings, in evaluating an investment in our securities. If any of these risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash available for distribution could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, we might not be able to make distributions on our common units, the trading price of our common units could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment. When we offer and sell any securities pursuant to a prospectus supplement, we may include additional risk factors relevant to such securities in the prospectus supplement.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

Unless otherwise indicated to the contrary in an accompanying prospectus supplement, we will use the net proceeds from the sale of the securities covered by this prospectus for general partnership purposes, which may include, among other things, debt repayment, future acquisitions, capital expenditures and additions to working capital.

Any allocation of the net proceeds of an offering of securities to a specific purpose will be described in a prospectus supplement relating to such offering. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of common units by the selling unitholders (see “Selling Unitholders”).

 

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DESCRIPTION OF THE COMMON UNITS

The Units

The common units and the subordinated units are separate classes of limited partner interests in us. The holders of common units and subordinated units are entitled to participate in partnership distributions and exercise the rights or privileges available to limited partners under our partnership agreement. For a description of the relative rights and preferences of holders of common units and subordinated units in and to partnership distributions, please read this section and “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners.” For a description of other rights and privileges of limited partners under our partnership agreement, including voting rights, please read “The Partnership Agreement.”

Transfer Agent and Registrar

Duties

American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC will serve as the registrar and transfer agent for the common units. We will pay all fees charged by the transfer agent for transfers of common units except the following, which must be paid by unitholders:

 

    surety bond premiums to replace lost or stolen certificates, taxes and other governmental charges;

 

    special charges for services requested by a holder of a common unit; and

 

    other similar fees or charges.

There is no charge to our unitholders for disbursements of our cash distributions. We will indemnify the transfer agent, its agents and each of their stockholders, directors, officers and employees against all claims and losses that may arise out of acts performed or omitted for its activities in that capacity, except for any liability due to any gross negligence or intentional misconduct of the indemnified person or entity.

Resignation or Removal

The transfer agent may resign, by notice to us, or be removed by us. The resignation or removal of the transfer agent will become effective upon our appointment of a successor transfer agent and registrar and its acceptance of the appointment. If no successor is appointed, our general partner may act as the transfer agent and registrar until a successor is appointed.

Transfer of Common Units

Upon the transfer of a common unit in accordance with our partnership agreement, the transferee of the common units shall be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the common units transferred when such transfer and admission are reflected in our books and records. Each transferee:

 

    represents that the transferee has the capacity, power and authority to enter into our partnership agreement;

 

    automatically becomes bound by the terms and conditions of our partnership agreement; and

 

    makes the consents, acknowledgements and waivers contained in our partnership agreement.

We may, at our discretion, treat the nominee holder of a common unit as the absolute owner. In that case, the beneficial holder’s rights are limited solely to those that it has against the nominee holder as a result of any agreement between the beneficial owner and the nominee holder.

Common units are securities and any transfers are subject to the laws governing the transfer of securities. In addition to other rights acquired upon transfer, the transferor gives the transferee the right to become a substituted limited partner in our partnership for the transferred common units.

 

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Until a common unit has been transferred on our books, we and the transfer agent may treat the record holder of the common unit as the absolute owner for all purposes, except as otherwise required by law or stock exchange regulations.

Number of Common and Subordinated Units

As of February 6, 2018, we had outstanding 77,691,045 common units and 64,954,691 subordinated units. Common units are traded on the NYSE under the symbol “FELP.” There is currently no established public trading market for our subordinated units.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF THE OTHER CLASSES OF UNITS

Our partnership agreement authorizes us or our general partner to issue an unlimited number of additional limited partner interests and other equity securities for the consideration and with the designations, preferences, rights, powers and privileges established by our general partner without the approval of any of our limited partners. In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may issue additional partnership interests that, if approved by our general partner, have special voting rights to which the common units or subordinated units are not entitled.

Should we offer other classes of units under this prospectus, a prospectus supplement relating to the particular class or series of units offered will include the specific terms of those units, including, among other things, the following:

 

    the designation, stated value, and liquidation preference of the units and the maximum number of units to constitute the class or series;

 

    the number of units to be offered;

 

    the public offering price at which the units will be issued;

 

    any sinking fund provisions of the units;

 

    the voting rights, if any, of the units;

 

    the distribution rights of the units, if any;

 

    whether the units will be redeemable and, if so, the price and the terms and conditions on which the units may be redeemed, including the time during which the units may be redeemed and any accumulated distributions thereof, if any, that the holders of the units will be entitled to receive upon the redemption thereof;

 

    the terms and conditions, if any, on which the units will be convertible into, or exchangeable for, the units of any other class or series of units representing limited partner interests, including the price or prices or the rate or rates of conversion or exchange and the method, if any, of adjusting the same;

 

    a discussion of any additional material United States federal income tax consequences, if any, relating to the purchase and ownership of the units; and

 

    any additional rights, preferences, privileges, limitations and restrictions of the units.

The particular terms of any class or series of units will also be described in the amendment to our partnership agreement relating to that class or series of units, which will be filed as an exhibit to or incorporated by reference in this prospectus at or before the time of issuance of any such class or series of units.

Such units will be fully paid and non-assessable when issued upon full payment of the purchase price therefor. The transfer agent, registrar and distributions disbursement agent for the units will be designated in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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HOW WE MAKE DISTRIBUTIONS TO OUR PARTNERS

General

Cash Distribution Policy

Our partnership agreement provides that our general partner will make a determination as to whether to make a distribution, but our partnership agreement does not require us to pay distributions at any time or in any amount. To the extent the quarterly distribution from operating surplus is below the minimum quarterly distribution, then an arrearage would accrue equal to the shortfall amount to the minimum quarterly distribution that would carry forward to future quarters and must be paid to all common unitholders before any distributions from operating surplus to the subordinated unitholder is made. Because quarterly distributions have been below the minimum quarterly distribution, beginning with the quarter ended December 31, 2015 arrearages have accrued which shall be payable before any future distributions from operating surplus may be paid on the subordinated units. However, there is no assurance as to the future cash distributions since they are dependent upon compliance with and restrictions within our various debt agreements, future earnings, cash flows, capital requirements, financial condition and other factors.

The board of directors of our general partner may change the foregoing distribution policy at any time and from time to time, and even if our cash distribution policy is not modified or revoked, the amount of distributions paid under our policy and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our general partner. Our partnership agreement does not contain a requirement for us to pay distributions to our unitholders, and there is no guarantee that we will pay the minimum quarterly distribution, or any distribution, on the units in any quarter. However, our partnership agreement does contain provisions intended to motivate our general partner to make steady, increasing and sustainable distributions over time.

Set forth below is a summary of the significant provisions of our partnership agreement that relate to cash distributions.

Operating Surplus and Capital Surplus

General

Any distributions we make will be characterized as made from “operating surplus” or “capital surplus.” Distributions from operating surplus are made differently than cash distributions that we would make from capital surplus. Operating surplus distributions will be made to our unitholders and, if we make quarterly distributions above the first target distribution level described below, to the holder of our incentive distribution rights. We do not anticipate that we will make any distributions from capital surplus. In such an event, however, any capital surplus distribution would be made pro rata to all unitholders, but the incentive distribution rights would generally not participate in any capital surplus distributions. Any distribution of capital surplus would result in a reduction of the minimum quarterly distribution and target distribution levels and, if we reduce the minimum quarterly distribution to zero and eliminate any unpaid arrearages, thereafter capital surplus would be distributed as if it were operating surplus and the incentive distribution rights would thereafter be entitled to participate in such distributions. Please read “—Distributions From Capital Surplus.”

Operating Surplus

We define operating surplus as:

 

    $125 million (as described below); plus

 

    all of our cash receipts after the closing of our initial public offering, excluding cash from interim capital transactions (as defined below) and provided that cash receipts from the termination of any hedge contract prior to its stipulated settlement or termination date will be included in equal quarterly installments over the remaining scheduled life of such hedge contract had it not been terminated; plus

 

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    cash distributions paid in respect of equity issued (including incremental distributions on incentive distribution rights), other than equity issued in our initial public offering, to finance all or a portion of expansion capital expenditures in respect of the period from such financing until the earlier to occur of the date the capital asset commences commercial service and the date that it is abandoned or disposed of; plus

 

    cash distributions paid in respect of equity issued (including incremental distributions on incentive distribution rights) to pay the construction period interest on debt incurred, or to pay construction period distributions on equity issued, to finance the expansion capital expenditures referred to above, in each case, in respect of the period that commences when we enter into a binding obligation for the acquisition, construction, development or expansion and ending on until the earlier to occur of the date any acquisition, construction, development or expansion commences commercial service and the date that it is abandoned or disposed of; less

 

    all of our operating expenditures (as defined below) after the closing of our initial public offering; less

 

    the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner to provide funds for future operating expenditures; less

 

    all working capital borrowings not repaid within twelve months after having been incurred; less

 

    any cash loss realized on disposition of an investment capital expenditure.

Disbursements made, cash received (including working capital borrowings) or cash reserves established, increased or reduced after the end of a period but on or before the date on which cash or cash equivalents will be distributed with respect to such period shall be deemed to have been made, received, established, increased or reduced, for purposes of determining operating surplus, within such period if our general partner so determines. Furthermore, cash received from an interest in an entity for which we account using the equity method will not be included to the extent it exceeds our proportionate share of that entity’s operating surplus (calculated as if the definition of operating surplus applied to such entity from the date of our acquisition of such an interest without any basket similar to described in the first bullet above). Operating surplus does not reflect cash generated by our operations. For example, it includes a basket of $125 million that will enable us, if we choose, to distribute as operating surplus cash we receive in the future from non-operating sources such as asset sales, issuances of securities and long-term borrowings that would otherwise be distributed as capital surplus. In addition, the effect of including, as described above, certain cash distributions on equity interests in operating surplus will be to increase operating surplus by the amount of any such cash distributions. As a result, we may also distribute as operating surplus up to the amount of any such cash that we receive from non-operating sources.

The proceeds of working capital borrowings increase operating surplus and repayments of working capital borrowings are generally operating expenditures, as described below, and thus reduce operating surplus when made. However, if a working capital borrowing is not repaid during the twelve-month period following the borrowing, it will be deducted from operating surplus at the end of such period, thus decreasing operating surplus at such time. When such working capital borrowing is in fact repaid, it will be excluded from operating expenditures because operating surplus will have been previously reduced by the deduction.

We define operating expenditures in our partnership agreement, and it generally means all of our cash expenditures, including, but not limited to, taxes, reimbursement of expenses to our general partner or its affiliates, payments made under hedge contracts (provided that (1) with respect to amounts paid in connection with the initial purchase of a hedge contract, such amounts will be amortized over the life of the applicable hedge contract and (2) payments made in connection with the termination of any hedge contract prior to the expiration of its stipulated settlement or termination date will be included in operating expenditures in equal quarterly installments over the remaining scheduled life of such hedge contract had it not been terminated), officer

 

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compensation, repayment of working capital borrowings, interest on indebtedness and estimated maintenance capital expenditures, provided that operating expenditures will not include:

 

    repayment of working capital borrowings deducted from operating surplus pursuant to the penultimate bullet point of the definition of operating surplus above when such repayment actually occurs;

 

    payments (including prepayments and prepayment penalties and the purchase price of indebtedness that is repurchased and cancelled) of principal of and premium on indebtedness, other than working capital borrowings;

 

    expansion capital expenditures;

 

    actual maintenance capital expenditures;

 

    investment capital expenditures;

 

    payment of transaction expenses relating to interim capital transactions;

 

    distributions to our partners (including distributions in respect of our incentive distribution rights); or

 

    repurchases of equity interests except to fund obligations under employee benefit plans.

Capital Surplus

Capital surplus is defined in our partnership agreement as any cash distribution in excess of our operating surplus. Accordingly, capital surplus would generally be generated only by the following (which we refer to as “interim capital transactions”):

 

    borrowings other than working capital borrowings;

 

    sales of our equity interests; and

 

    sales or other dispositions of assets for cash, other than inventory, accounts receivable and other assets sold in the ordinary course of business or as part of normal retirement or replacement of assets.

Characterization of Cash Distributions

Our partnership agreement provides that we treat all cash distributed as coming from operating surplus until the sum of all cash distributed since the closing of our initial public offering (other than any distributions of proceeds of our initial public offering) equals the operating surplus since the closing of our initial public offering. Our partnership agreement requires that we treat any amount distributed in excess of operating surplus, regardless of its source, as distributions of capital surplus. We do not anticipate that we will make any distributions from capital surplus.

Capital Expenditures

Our partnership agreement will distinguish between maintenance capital expenditures (which are cash expenditures made to maintain our then current operating capacity or net income as they exist at such time as the capital expenditures are made), expansion capital expenditures (which are cash expenditures, including transaction expenses, made to increase over the long term, our operating capacity or net income as they exist at such time as the capital expenditures are made) and investment capital expenditures (capital expenditures that are neither maintenance capital expenditures nor expansion capital expenditures). Our general partner will determine the amount of expenditures made to maintain or increase our long term operating capacity or net income.

Estimated maintenance capital expenditures reduce operating surplus, but expansion capital expenditures, actual maintenance capital expenditures and investment capital expenditures do not. Examples of maintenance capital expenditures include expenditures associated with the replacement of equipment and coal reserves,

 

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whether at an existing mine or the acquisition or development of new reserves, to the extent such expenditures are made to maintain our then current operating capacity or net income as they exist at such time as the capital expenditures are made. Maintenance capital expenditures will also include interest (and related fees) on debt incurred and distributions on equity issued (including incremental distributions on incentive distribution rights) to finance all or any portion of the construction or development of a replacement asset that is paid in respect of the period that begins when we enter into a binding obligation to commence constructing or developing a replacement asset and ending on the earlier to occur of the date that any such replacement asset commences commercial service and the date that it is abandoned or disposed of. Our general partner will review all capital expenditures on an annual basis in connection with the budget process and on a quarterly basis at the time expenditures are made to determine which expenditures increase current operating capacity or net income over the long term. Factors our general partner will consider include an assessment of current operating capacity or net income of the mine at the time of the expenditure and an evaluation of whether the expenditure will increase the mine’s capacity or net income or whether the expenditure will replace current operating capacity or net income. To the extent the capital expenditure increases operating capacity or net income in a sustainable way, it will be classified as an expansion capital expenditure in the period in which the expenditure was made. Otherwise, it will be considered a maintenance capital expenditure. Cash expenditures made solely for investment purposes will not be considered maintenance capital expenditures.

Because our maintenance capital expenditures can be irregular, the amount of our actual maintenance capital expenditures may differ substantially from period to period, which could cause similar fluctuations in the amounts of operating surplus if we subtracted actual maintenance capital expenditures from operating surplus.

To eliminate these fluctuations, our partnership agreement will require that an estimate of the average quarterly maintenance capital expenditures necessary to maintain our operating capacity over the long-term be subtracted from operating surplus each quarter as opposed to the actual amounts spent. The amount of estimated maintenance capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus for those periods will be subject to review and change by our general partner at least once a year, provided that any change is approved by our conflicts committee. The estimate will be made at least annually and whenever an event occurs that is likely to result in a material adjustment to the amount of our maintenance capital expenditures, including but not limited to a major acquisition or expansion or the introduction of new governmental regulations that will impact our business. For purposes of calculating operating surplus, any adjustment to this estimate will be prospective only.

The use of estimated maintenance capital expenditures in calculating operating surplus will have the following effects:

 

    the amount of actual maintenance capital expenditures in any quarter will not directly reduce operating surplus but will instead be factored into the estimate of the average quarterly maintenance capital expenditures. This may result in the subordinated units converting into common units when the use of actual maintenance capital expenditures would result in lower operating surplus during the subordination period and potentially result in the tests for conversion of the subordinated units not being satisfied;

 

    it may increase our ability to distribute as operating surplus cash we receive from non-operating sources; and

 

    it may be more difficult for us to raise our distribution above the minimum quarterly distribution and pay incentive distributions on the incentive distribution rights held by our general partner.

Expansion capital expenditures are those cash expenditures, including transaction expenses, made to increase our operating capacity or net income over the long term. Examples of expansion capital expenditures including but not limited to the acquisition of reserves, equipment or a new mine or the expansion of an existing mine, to the extent such expenditures are expected to expand our long-term operating capacity or net income. Expansion capital expenditures will also include interest (and related fees) on debt incurred and distributions on

 

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equity issued (including incremental distributions on incentive distribution rights) to finance all or any portion of such acquisition or expansion in respect of the period that commences when we enter into a binding obligation for the acquisition, construction, development or expansion and ending on the earlier to occur of the date any acquisition construction, development or expansion commences commercial service and the date that it is disposed of or abandoned. Expenditures made solely for investment purposes will not be considered expansion capital expenditures.

Investment capital expenditures are those capital expenditures, including transaction expenses, that are neither maintenance capital expenditures nor expansion capital expenditures. Investment capital expenditures largely will consist of capital expenditures made for investment purposes. Examples of investment capital expenditures include traditional capital expenditures for investment purposes, such as purchases of securities, as well as other capital expenditures that might be made in lieu of such traditional investment capital expenditures, such as the acquisition of an asset for investment purposes or development of assets that are in excess of the maintenance of our existing operating capacity or net income, but which are not expected to expand, for more than the short term, our operating capacity or net income.

As described above, neither investment capital expenditures nor expansion capital expenditures are included in operating expenditures, and thus will not reduce operating surplus. Because expansion capital expenditures include interest payments (and related fees) on debt incurred to finance all or a portion of an acquisition, development or expansion in respect of a period that begins when we enter into a binding obligation for an acquisition construction, development or expansion and ending on the earlier to occur of the date on which such acquisition, construction, development or expansion commences commercial service and the date that it is abandoned or disposed of, such interest payments also do not reduce operating surplus. Losses on disposition of an investment capital expenditure will reduce operating surplus when realized and cash receipts from an investment capital expenditure will be treated as a cash receipt for purposes of calculating operating surplus only to the extent the cash receipt is a return on principal.

Cash expenditures that are made in part for maintenance capital purposes, investment capital purposes and/or expansion capital purposes will be allocated as maintenance capital expenditures, investment capital expenditures or expansion capital expenditures by our general partner.

Subordination Period

General

Our partnership agreement provides that, during the subordination period (which we describe below), the common units will have the right to receive distributions from operating surplus each quarter in an amount equal to $0.3375 per common unit, which amount is defined in our partnership agreement as the minimum quarterly distribution, plus any arrearages in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units from prior quarters, before any distributions from operating surplus may be made on the subordinated units. These units are deemed “subordinated” because for a period of time, referred to as the subordination period, the subordinated units will not be entitled to receive any distributions from operating surplus until the common units have received the minimum quarterly distribution from operating surplus plus any arrearages in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution from prior quarters. Furthermore, no arrearages will be paid on the subordinated units. The practical effect of the subordinated units is to increase the likelihood that during the subordination period there will be sufficient cash from operating surplus to pay the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units.

Determination of Subordination Period

Except as described below, the subordination period will expire on the first business day after the distribution to unitholders in respect of any quarter if each of the following has occurred:

 

   

for each of the three consecutive, non-overlapping four-quarter periods immediately preceding that date, aggregate distributions from operating surplus equaled or exceeded the sum of the minimum

 

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quarterly distribution multiplied by the total number of common and subordinated units outstanding in each quarter in each period;

 

    for the same three consecutive, non-overlapping four-quarter periods, the “adjusted operating surplus” (as described below) equaled or exceeded the sum of the minimum quarterly distribution multiplied by the total number of common and subordinated units outstanding during each quarter on a fully diluted weighted average basis; and

 

    there are no arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units.

Early Termination of Subordination Period

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the subordination period will automatically terminate, and all of the subordinated units will convert into common units on a one-for-one basis, on the first business day after the distribution to unitholders in respect of any quarter if each of the following has occurred:

 

    for one four-quarter period immediately preceding that date, aggregate distributions from operating surplus exceeded the sum of 150.0% of the minimum quarterly distribution multiplied by the total number of common units and subordinated units outstanding in each quarter in the period;

 

    for the same four-quarter period, the “adjusted operating surplus” (as described below) equaled or exceeded the sum of 150.0% of the minimum quarterly distribution multiplied by the total number of common and subordinated units outstanding during each quarter on a fully diluted weighted average basis, plus the related distribution on the incentive distribution rights; and

 

    there are no arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distributions on the common units.

Conversion Upon Removal of the General Partner

In addition, if the unitholders remove our general partner other than for cause, the subordinated units held by any person will immediately and automatically convert into common units on a one-for-one basis, provided (1) neither such person nor any of its affiliates voted any of its units in favor of the removal and (2) such person is not an affiliate of the successor general partner.

Expiration of the Subordination Period

When the subordination period ends, each outstanding subordinated unit will convert into one common unit and will then participate pro rata with the other common units in distributions.

Adjusted Operating Surplus

Adjusted operating surplus is intended to generally reflect the cash generated from operations during a particular period and therefore excludes net increases in working capital borrowings and net drawdowns of reserves of cash generated in prior periods if not utilized to pay expenses during that period. Adjusted operating surplus for any period consists of:

 

    operating surplus generated with respect to that period (excluding any amounts attributable to the items described in the first bullet point under “—Operating Surplus and Capital Surplus—Operating Surplus” above); less

 

    any net increase during that period in working capital borrowings; less

 

    any net decrease during that period in cash reserves for operating expenditures not relating to an operating expenditure made during that period; plus

 

    any net decrease during that period in working capital borrowings; plus

 

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    any net increase during that period in cash reserves for operating expenditures required by any debt instrument for the repayment of principal, interest or premium; plus

 

    any net decrease made in subsequent periods in cash reserves for operating expenditures initially established during such period to the extent such decrease results in a reduction of adjusted operating surplus in subsequent periods pursuant to the third bullet point above.

Any disbursements received, cash received (including working capital borrowings) or cash reserves established, increased or reduced after the end of a period that the general partner determines to include in operating surplus for such period shall also be deemed to have been made, received or established, increased or reduced in such period for purposes of determining adjusted operating surplus for such period.

Distributions From Operating Surplus During the Subordination Period

If we make a distribution from operating surplus for any quarter ending before the end of the subordination period, our partnership agreement requires that we make the distribution in the following manner:

 

    first, to the common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each common unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter and any arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units for any prior quarters;

 

    second, to the subordinated unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each subordinated unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter; and

 

    thereafter, in the manner described in “—General Partner Interest—Incentive Distribution Rights” below.

Distributions From Operating Surplus After the Subordination Period

If we make distributions of cash from operating surplus for any quarter ending after the subordination period, our partnership agreement requires that we make the distribution in the following manner:

 

    first, to all common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each common unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter; and

 

    thereafter, in the manner described in “—General Partner Interest—Incentive Distribution Rights” below.

General Partner Interest

Our general partner owns a non-economic general partner interest in us, which does not entitle it to receive cash distributions. However, our general partner owns the incentive distribution rights and may in the future own common units or other equity interests in us and will be entitled to receive distributions on any such interests.

Incentive Distribution Rights

Incentive distribution rights represent the right to receive increasing percentages (15.0%, 25.0% and 50.0%) of quarterly distributions from operating surplus after the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels have been achieved. Our general partner currently holds the incentive distribution rights, but may transfer these rights separately from its general partner interest.

If for any quarter:

 

    we have distributed cash from operating surplus to the common and subordinated unitholders in an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution; and

 

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    we have distributed cash from operating surplus to the common unitholders in an amount necessary to eliminate any cumulative arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution;

then, we will make additional distributions from operating surplus for that quarter among the unitholders and the holders of the incentive distribution rights in the following manner:

 

    first, to all unitholders, pro rata, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.3881 per unit for that quarter (the “first target distribution”);

 

    second, 85.0% to all common unitholders and subordinated unitholders, pro rata, and 15.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.4219 per unit for that quarter (the “second target distribution”);

 

    third, 75.0% to all common unitholders and subordinated unitholders, pro rata, and 25.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.5063 per unit for that quarter (the “third target distribution”); and

 

    thereafter, 50.0% to all common unitholders and subordinated unitholders, pro rata, and 50.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

Percentage Allocations of Distributions From Operating Surplus

The following table illustrates the percentage allocations of distributions, from operating surplus between the unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights based on the specified target distribution levels. The amounts set forth under the column heading “Marginal Percentage Interest in Distributions” are the percentage interests of the holders of our incentive distribution rights and the unitholders in any distributions from operating surplus we distribute up to and including the corresponding amount in the column “Total Quarterly Distribution Per Common Unit and Subordinated Unit.” The percentage interests shown for our unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights for the minimum quarterly distribution are also applicable to quarterly distribution amounts that are less than the minimum quarterly distribution. The percentage interests set forth below assume there are no arrearages on common units.

 

     Total Quarterly Distribution Per
Common Unit and Subordinated Unit
   Marginal Percentage Interest
in Distributions
 
        Unitholders     IDR Holders  

Minimum Quarterly Distribution

   $0.3375      100.0     0

First Target Distribution

   above $0.3375 up to $0.3881      100.0     0

Second Target Distribution

   above $0.3881 up to $0.4219      85.0     15.0

Third Target Distribution

   above $0.4219 up to $0.5063      75.0     25.0

Thereafter

   above $0.5063      50.0     50.0

Incentive Distribution Right Holders’ Right to Reset Incentive Distribution Levels

Our general partner, as the initial holder of our incentive distribution rights, has the right under our partnership agreement to elect to relinquish the right to receive incentive distribution payments based on the initial target distribution levels and to reset, at higher levels, the target distribution levels upon which the incentive distribution payments would be set. If our general partner transfers all or a portion of our incentive distribution rights in the future, then the holder or holders of a majority of our incentive distribution rights will be entitled to exercise this right. The following discussion assumes that our general partner holds all of the incentive distribution rights at the time that a reset election is made.

The right to reset the target distribution levels upon which the incentive distributions are based may be exercised, without approval of our unitholders or the conflicts committee of our general partner at any time when there are no subordinated units outstanding and we have made cash distributions in excess of the then-applicable

 

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third target distribution for the prior four consecutive fiscal quarters. The reset target distribution levels will be higher than the most recent per unit distribution level prior to the reset election and higher than the target distribution levels prior to the reset such that there will be no incentive distributions paid under the reset target distribution levels until cash distributions per unit following the reset event increase as described below. Because the reset target distribution levels will be higher than the most recent per unit distribution level prior to the reset, if we were to issue additional common units after the reset and maintain the per unit distribution level, no additional incentive distributions would be payable. By contrast, if there were no such reset and we were to issue additional common units and maintain the per unit distribution level, additional incentive distributions would have to be paid based on the additional number of outstanding common units and the percentage interest of the incentive distribution rights above the target distribution levels. Thus, the exercise of the reset right would lower our cost of equity capital. We anticipate that our general partner would exercise this reset right in order to facilitate acquisitions or internal growth projects that would otherwise not be sufficiently accretive to cash distributions per common unit, taking into account the existing levels of incentive distribution payments being made.

In connection with the resetting of the target distribution levels and the corresponding relinquishment by our general partner of incentive distribution payments based on the target cash distributions prior to the reset, our general partner will be entitled to receive a number of newly issued common units based on the formula described below that takes into account the “cash parity” value of the cash distributions related to the incentive distribution rights for the quarter prior to the reset event as compared to the cash distribution per common unit in such quarter.

The number of common units to be issued in connection with a resetting of the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels would equal the quotient determined by dividing (x) the amount of cash distributions received in respect of the incentive distribution rights for the fiscal quarter ended immediately prior to the date of such reset election by (y) the amount of cash distributed per common unit with respect to such quarter.

Following a reset election, a baseline minimum quarterly distribution amount will be calculated as an amount equal to the cash distribution amount per unit for the fiscal quarter immediately preceding the reset election (which amount we refer to as the “reset minimum quarterly distribution”) and the target distribution levels will be reset to be correspondingly higher such that we would make distributions from operating surplus for each quarter thereafter as follows:

 

    first, to all common unitholders, pro rata, until each unitholder receives an amount per unit for that quarter equal to 115.0% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    second, 85.0% to all common unitholders, pro rata, and 15.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives an amount per unit for the quarter equal to 125.0% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    third, 75.0% to all common unitholders, pro rata, and 25.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives an amount per unit for the quarter equal to 150.0% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution; and

 

    thereafter, 50.0% to all common unitholders, pro rata, and 50.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

Because a reset election can only occur after the subordination period expires, the reset minimum quarterly distribution will have no significance except as a baseline for the target distribution levels.

The holders of our incentive distribution rights will be entitled to cause the target distribution levels to be reset on more than one occasion.

 

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Distributions From Capital Surplus

How Distributions From Capital Surplus Will Be Made

Our partnership agreement requires that we make distributions from capital surplus, if any, in the following manner:

 

    first, to all common unitholders and subordinated unitholders, pro rata, until the minimum quarterly distribution is reduced to zero, as described below;

 

    second, to the common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each common unit an amount from capital surplus equal to any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units; and

 

    thereafter, we will make all distributions from capital surplus as if they were from operating surplus.

Effect of a Distribution From Capital Surplus

Our partnership agreement treats a distribution of capital surplus as the repayment of the initial unit price, which is a return of capital. Each time a distribution of capital surplus is made, the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels will be reduced in the same proportion as the distribution of capital surplus to the fair market value of the common units prior to the announcement of the distribution. Because distributions of capital surplus will reduce the minimum quarterly distribution and target distribution levels after any of these distributions are made, it may be easier for our general partner to receive incentive distributions and for the subordinated units to convert into common units. However, any distribution of capital surplus before the minimum quarterly distribution is reduced to zero cannot be applied to the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution or any arrearages.

Once we reduce the minimum quarterly distribution and target distribution levels to zero, all future distributions will be made such that 50.0% is paid to all unitholders, pro rata, and 50.0% is paid to the holder or holders of incentive distribution rights.

Adjustment to the Minimum Quarterly Distribution and Target Distribution Levels

In addition to adjusting the minimum quarterly distribution and target distribution levels to reflect a distribution of capital surplus, if we combine our common units into fewer common units or subdivide our common units into a greater number of common units, our partnership agreement specifies that the following items will be proportionately adjusted:

 

    the minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    the target distribution levels;

 

    the initial unit price, as described below under “—Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation”;

 

    the per unit amount of any outstanding arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units; and

 

    the number of subordinated units.

For example, if a two-for-one split of the common units should occur, the minimum quarterly distribution, the target distribution levels and the initial unit price would each be reduced to 50.0% of its initial level. If we combine our common units into a lesser number of units or subdivide our common units into a greater number of units, we will combine or subdivide our subordinated units using the same ratio applied to the common units. We will not make any adjustment by reason of the issuance of additional units for cash or property.

In addition, if as a result of a change in law or interpretation thereof, we or any of our subsidiaries is treated as an association taxable as a corporation or is otherwise subject to additional taxation as an entity for U.S.

 

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federal, state, local or non-U.S. income or withholding tax purposes, our general partner may, in its sole discretion, reduce the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels for each quarter by multiplying each distribution level by a fraction, the numerator of which is cash for that quarter (after deducting our general partner’s estimate of our additional aggregate liability for the quarter for such income and withholdings taxes payable by reason of such change in law or interpretation) and the denominator of which is the sum of (1) cash for that quarter, plus (2) our general partner’s estimate of our additional aggregate liability for the quarter for such income and withholding taxes payable by reason of such change in law or interpretation thereof. To the extent that the actual tax liability differs from the estimated tax liability for any quarter, the difference will be accounted for in distributions with respect to subsequent quarters.

Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation

General

If we dissolve in accordance with the partnership agreement, we will sell or otherwise dispose of our assets in a process called liquidation. We will first apply the proceeds of liquidation to the payment of our creditors. We will distribute any remaining proceeds to the unitholders and the holders of the incentive distribution rights, in accordance with their capital account balances, as adjusted to reflect any gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of our assets in liquidation.

The allocations of gain and loss upon liquidation are intended, to the extent possible, to entitle the holders of units to a repayment of the initial value contributed by unitholders for their units in our initial public offering, which we refer to as the “initial unit price” for each unit. The allocations of gain and loss upon liquidation are also intended, to the extent possible, to entitle the holders of common units to a preference over the holders of subordinated units upon our liquidation, to the extent required to permit common unitholders to receive their initial unit price plus the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which liquidation occurs plus any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units. However, there may not be sufficient gain upon our liquidation to enable the common unitholders to fully recover all of these amounts, even though there may be cash available for distribution to the holders of subordinated units. Any further net gain recognized upon liquidation will be allocated in a manner that takes into account the incentive distribution rights.

Manner of Adjustments for Gain

The manner of the adjustment for gain is set forth in the partnership agreement. If our liquidation occurs before the end of the subordination period, we will generally allocate any gain to the partners in the following manner:

 

    first, to our general partner to the extent of certain prior losses specially allocated to our general partner;

 

    second, to the common unitholders, pro rata, until the capital account for each common unit is equal to the sum of: (1) the initial unit price; (2) the amount of the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which our liquidation occurs; and (3) any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    third, to the subordinated unitholders, pro rata, until the capital account for each subordinated unit is equal to the sum of: (1) the initial unit price; and (2) the amount of the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which our liquidation occurs;

 

    fourth, to all unitholders, pro rata, until we allocate under this bullet an amount per unit equal to: (1) the sum of the excess of the first target distribution per unit over the minimum quarterly distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions from operating surplus in excess of the minimum quarterly distribution per unit that we distributed to the unitholders, pro rata, for each quarter of our existence;

 

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    fifth, 85.0% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 15.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until we allocate under this bullet an amount per unit equal to: (1) the sum of the excess of the second target distribution per unit over the first target distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions from operating surplus in excess of the first target distribution per unit that we distributed 85.0% to the unitholders, pro rata, and 15.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights for each quarter of our existence;

 

    sixth, 75.0% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 25.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until we allocate under this bullet an amount per unit equal to: (1) the sum of the excess of the third target distribution per unit over the second target distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions from operating surplus in excess of the second target distribution per unit that we distributed 75.0% to the unitholders, pro rata, and 25.0% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights for each quarter of our existence; and

 

    thereafter, 50.0% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 50.0% to holders of our incentive distribution rights.

If the liquidation occurs after the end of the subordination period, the distinction between common units and subordinated units will disappear, so that clause (3) of the second bullet point above and all of the third bullet point above will no longer be applicable.

We may make special allocations of gain among the partners in a manner to create economic uniformity among the common units into which the subordinated units convert and the common units held by public unitholders.

Manner of Adjustments for Losses

If our liquidation occurs before the end of the subordination period, we will generally allocate any loss to our general partner and the unitholders in the following manner:

 

    first, to holders of subordinated units in proportion to the positive balances in their capital accounts until the capital accounts of the subordinated unitholders have been reduced to zero;

 

    second, to the holders of common units in proportion to the positive balances in their capital accounts, until the capital accounts of the common unitholders have been reduced to zero; and

 

    thereafter, 100% to our general partner.

If the liquidation occurs after the end of the subordination period, the distinction between common units and subordinated units will disappear, so that all of the first bullet point above will no longer be applicable.

We may make special allocations of loss among the partners in a manner to create economic uniformity among the common units into which the subordinated units convert and the common units held by public unitholders.

Adjustments to Capital Accounts

Our partnership agreement requires that we make adjustments to capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units. In this regard, our partnership agreement specifies that we allocate any unrealized and, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, unrecognized gain resulting from the adjustments to the unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights in the same manner as we allocate gain upon liquidation. In the event that we make positive adjustments to the capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units, our partnership agreement requires that we generally allocate any later negative adjustments to the capital accounts resulting from the issuance of additional units or upon our liquidation in a manner which results, to the extent possible, in the partners’ capital account balances equaling the amount which they would have been if no earlier positive

 

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adjustments to the capital accounts had been made. By contrast to the allocations of gain, and except as provided above, we generally will allocate any unrealized and unrecognized loss resulting from the adjustments to capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units to the unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights based on their respective percentage ownership of us. In this manner, prior to the end of the subordination period, we generally will allocate any such loss equally with respect to our common and subordinated units. If we make negative adjustments to the capital accounts as a result of such loss, future positive adjustments resulting from the issuance of additional units will be allocated in a manner designed to reverse the prior negative adjustments, and special allocations will be made upon liquidation in a manner that results, to the extent possible, in our unitholders’ capital account balances equaling the amounts they would have been if no earlier adjustments for loss had been made.

 

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THE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

The following is a summary of certain provisions of our partnership agreement. We will provide investors with a copy of our partnership agreement upon request at no charge.

We summarize the following provisions of our partnership agreement elsewhere in this prospectus:

 

    with regard to distributions of cash available for distribution, please read “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners”;

 

    with regard to the duties of, and standard of care applicable to, our general partner, please read “Conflicts of Interest and Fiduciary Duties”;

 

    with regard to the transfer of common units, please read “Description of the Common Units—Transfer of Common Units”; and

 

    with regard to allocations of taxable income and taxable loss, please read “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences.”

Organization and Duration

Our partnership was organized in January 2012 and will have a perpetual existence unless terminated pursuant to the terms of our partnership agreement.

Purpose

Our purpose, as set forth in our partnership agreement, is limited to any business activity that is approved by our general partner and that lawfully may be conducted by a limited partnership organized under Delaware law; provided that our general partner shall not cause us to take any action that the general partner determines would be reasonably likely to cause us to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes.

Although our general partner has the ability to cause us and our subsidiaries to engage in activities other than the business of mining and transporting coal, our general partner may decline to do so in its sole discretion. Our general partner is generally authorized to perform all acts it determines to be necessary or appropriate to carry out our purposes and to conduct our business.

Cash Distributions

Our partnership agreement does not require us to pay distributions at any time or in any amount. Instead, the board of directors of our general partner has adopted a cash distribution policy that sets forth our general partner’s intention with respect to the distributions to be made to unitholders. See “How We Make Distributions to Our Partners—General—Cash Distribution Policy.”

Our partnership agreement specifies the manner in which we will make cash distributions to holders of our common units and other partnership securities, as well as to our general partner in respect of its incentive distribution rights. For a description of these cash distribution provisions, please read “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners.”

Capital Contributions

Unitholders are not obligated to make additional capital contributions, except as described below under “—Limited Liability.”

 

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Voting Rights

The following is a summary of the unitholder vote required for approval of the matters specified below. Matters that call for the approval of a “unit majority” require:

 

    during the subordination period, the approval of a majority of the common units, excluding those common units whose vote is controlled by our general partner or its affiliates, and a majority of the subordinated units, voting as separate classes; and

 

    after the subordination period, the approval of a majority of the common units.

In voting their common and subordinated units, our general partner and its affiliates will have no duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners.

The incentive distribution rights may be entitled to vote in certain circumstances.

 

Issuance of additional units

No approval right.

 

Amendment of the partnership agreement

Certain amendments may be made by our general partner without the approval of the unitholders. Other amendments generally require the approval of a unit majority. Please read “—Amendment of the Partnership Agreement.”

 

Merger of our partnership or the sale of all or substantially all of our assets

Unit majority in certain circumstances. Please read “—Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets.”

 

Dissolution of our partnership

Unit majority. Please read “—Dissolution.”

 

Continuation of our business upon dissolution

Unit majority. Please read “—Dissolution.”

 

Withdrawal of our general partner

Under most circumstances, the approval of a majority of the common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, is required for the withdrawal of our general partner prior to March 31, 2024 in a manner that would cause a dissolution of our partnership. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”

 

Removal of our general partner

Not less than 66 23% of the outstanding units, voting as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates. In addition, any vote to remove our general partner during the subordination period must provide for the election of a successor general partner by the holders of a majority of the common units and a majority of the subordinated units, voting as separate classes. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”

 

Transfer of our general partner interest

No approval right. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Interest.”

 

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Transfer of incentive distribution rights

No approval right. Please read “—Transfer of Subordinated Units and Incentive Distribution Rights.”

 

Transfer of ownership interests in our general partner

No approval right. Please read “—Transfer of Ownership Interests in the General Partner.”

If any person or group other than our general partner and its affiliates acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units, that person or group loses voting rights on all of its units. This loss of voting rights does not apply to any person or group that acquires the units upon the exercise of those certain warrants issued by us on August 30, 2016 (the “Warrants”). Furthermore, this loss of voting rights does not apply to any person or group that acquires the units from our general partner or its affiliates and any transferees of that person or group approved by our general partner or to any person or group who acquires the units with the specific prior approval of our general partner.

Applicable Law; Forum, Venue and Jurisdiction

Our partnership agreement is governed by Delaware law. Our partnership agreement requires that any claims, suits, actions or proceedings:

 

    arising out of or relating in any way to the partnership agreement (including any claims, suits or actions to interpret, apply or enforce the provisions of the partnership agreement or the duties, obligations or liabilities among limited partners or of limited partners to us, or the rights or powers of, or restrictions on, the limited partners or us);

 

    brought in a derivative manner on our behalf;

 

    asserting a claim of breach of a duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of us or our general partner, or owed by our general partner, to us or the limited partners;

 

    asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware Act; or

 

    asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine,

shall be exclusively brought in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction, any other court located in the State of Delaware with subject matter jurisdiction), regardless of whether such claims, suits, actions or proceedings sound in contract, tort, fraud or otherwise, are based on common law, statutory, equitable, legal or other grounds, or are derivative or direct claims. By purchasing a common unit, a limited partner is irrevocably consenting to these limitations and provisions regarding claims, suits, actions or proceedings (including waiver of trial by jury) and submitting to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or such other court) in connection with any such claims, suits, actions or proceedings.

Limited Liability

Assuming that a limited partner does not participate in the control of our business within the meaning of the Delaware Act and that he otherwise acts in conformity with the provisions of the partnership agreement, his liability under the Delaware Act will be limited, subject to possible exceptions, to the amount of capital he is obligated to contribute to us for his common units plus his share of any undistributed profits and assets. However, if it were determined that the right, or exercise of the right, by the limited partners as a group:

 

    to remove or replace our general partner;

 

    to approve an amendment to our partnership agreement; or

 

    to take other action under our partnership agreement;

 

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constituted “participation in the control” of our business for the purposes of the Delaware Act, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the laws of Delaware, to the same extent as our general partner. This liability would extend to persons who transact business with us under the reasonable belief that the limited partner is a general partner. Neither our partnership agreement nor the Delaware Act specifically provides for legal recourse against our general partner if a limited partner were to lose limited liability through any fault of our general partner. While this does not mean that a limited partner could not seek legal recourse, we know of no precedent for this type of a claim in Delaware case law.

Under the Delaware Act, a limited partnership may not make a distribution to a partner if, after the distribution, all liabilities of the limited partnership, other than liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of the assets of the limited partnership. For the purpose of determining the fair value of the assets of a limited partnership, the Delaware Act provides that the fair value of property subject to liability for which recourse of creditors is limited shall be included in the assets of the limited partnership only to the extent that the fair value of that property exceeds the nonrecourse liability. The Delaware Act provides that a limited partner who receives a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Act shall be liable to the limited partnership for the amount of the distribution for three years.

Our subsidiaries conduct business in one state and we may have subsidiaries that conduct business in other states or countries in the future. Maintenance of our limited liability as owner of our operating subsidiaries may require compliance with legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which the operating subsidiaries conduct business, including qualifying our subsidiaries to do business there.

Limitations on the liability of members or limited partners for the obligations of a limited liability company or limited partnership have not been clearly established in many jurisdictions. If, by virtue of our ownership interest in our subsidiaries or otherwise, it were determined that we were conducting business in any jurisdiction without compliance with the applicable limited partnership or limited liability company statute, or that the right or exercise of the right by the limited partners as a group to remove or replace our general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement, or to take other action under our partnership agreement constituted “participation in the control” of our business for purposes of the statutes of any relevant jurisdiction, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the law of that jurisdiction to the same extent as our general partner under the circumstances. We will operate in a manner that our general partner considers reasonable and necessary or appropriate to preserve the limited liability of the limited partners.

Issuance of Additional Interests

Our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership interests for the consideration and on the terms and conditions determined by our general partner without the approval of the unitholders.

It is possible that we will fund acquisitions through the issuance of additional common units or other partnership interests. Holders of any additional common units we issue will be entitled to share equally with the then-existing common unitholders in our distributions. In addition, the issuance of additional common units, subordinated units or other partnership interests may dilute the value of the interests of the then-existing common unitholders in our net assets.

In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership interests that, as determined by our general partner, may have rights to distributions or special voting rights to which the common units or subordinated units are not entitled. In addition, our partnership agreement does not prohibit our subsidiaries from issuing equity interests, which may effectively rank senior to the common units.

 

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Our general partner will have the right, which it may from time to time assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates, to purchase common units, subordinated units or other partnership interests whenever, and on the same terms that, we issue partnership interests to persons other than our general partner and its affiliates, to the extent necessary to maintain the percentage interest of our general partner and its affiliates, including such interest represented by common and subordinated units, that existed immediately prior to each issuance. Our common unitholders will not have preemptive rights under our partnership agreement to acquire additional common units or other partnership interests.

Amendment of the Partnership Agreement

General

Amendments to our partnership agreement may be proposed only by our general partner. However, our general partner will have no duty or obligation to propose any amendment and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners. In order to adopt a proposed amendment, other than the amendments discussed below, our general partner is required to seek written approval of the holders of the number of units required to approve the amendment or to call a meeting of the limited partners to consider and vote upon the proposed amendment. Except as described below, an amendment must be approved by a unit majority.

Prohibited Amendments

No amendment may be made that would:

 

    enlarge the obligations of any limited partner without its consent, unless approved by at least a majority of the type or class of limited partner interests so affected;

 

    affect the definitions of “Converted Units,” “Outstanding,” “Uniformity Action,” and “Warrants” in certain sections of our partnership agreement in a manner that is adverse to the Warrants and/or the holders thereof, or the holder of common units received upon the exercise of the Warrants (the “Converted Units”), unless prior written consent has been received from (i) (in the case of any such amendment that is adverse to the Warrants or the holders thereof) the holders of not less than a majority of the Warrants, or (ii) (in the case of any such amendment that is adverse to the holders of the Converted Units) the holders of not less than a majority of the Converted Units; or

 

    enlarge the obligations of, restrict in any way any action by or rights of, or reduce in any way the amounts distributable, reimbursable or otherwise payable by us to our general partner or any of its affiliates without the consent of our general partner, which consent may be given or withheld in its sole discretion.

The provision of our partnership agreement preventing the amendments having the effects described in the clauses above can be amended upon the approval of the holders of at least 90.0% of the outstanding units, voting as a single class (including units owned by our general partner and its affiliates).

No Unitholder Approval

Our general partner may generally make amendments to our partnership agreement without the approval of any limited partner to reflect:

 

    a change in our name, the location of our principal place of business, our registered agent or our registered office;

 

    the admission, substitution, withdrawal or removal of partners in accordance with our partnership agreement;

 

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    a change that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to qualify or continue our qualification as a limited partnership or other entity in which the limited partners have limited liability under the laws of any state or to ensure that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries will be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxed as an entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes (to the extent not already so treated or taxed);

 

    an amendment that is necessary, in the opinion of our counsel, to prevent us or our general partner or its directors, officers, agents or trustees from in any manner being subjected to the provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 or “plan asset” regulations adopted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, whether or not substantially similar to plan asset regulations currently applied or proposed;

 

    an amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate in connection with the creation, authorization or issuance of additional partnership interests or the right to acquire partnership interests;

 

    any amendment expressly permitted in our partnership agreement to be made by our general partner acting alone;

 

    an amendment effected, necessitated or contemplated by a merger agreement that has been approved under the terms of our partnership agreement;

 

    any amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate for the formation by us of, or our investment in, any corporation, partnership, or other entity, as otherwise permitted by our partnership agreement;

 

    a change in our fiscal year or taxable year and related changes;

 

    conversions into, mergers with or conveyances to another limited liability entity that is newly formed and has no assets, liabilities or operations at the time of the conversion, merger or conveyance other than those it receives by way of the conversion, merger or conveyance; or

 

    any other amendments substantially similar to any of the matters described in the clauses above.

In addition, our general partner may make amendments to our partnership agreement, without the approval of any limited partner, if our general partner determines that those amendments:

 

    do not adversely affect the limited partners, considered as a whole, or any particular class of limited partners, or the Warrants and/or the holders thereof, in any material respect;

 

    (A) are necessary or appropriate to satisfy any requirements, conditions or guidelines contained in any opinion, directive, order, ruling or regulation of any federal or state agency or judicial authority or contained in any federal or state statute or (B) are necessary or appropriate to facilitate the trading of limited partner interests or to comply with any rule, regulation, guideline or requirement of any securities exchange on which the limited partner interests are or will be listed for trading; provided however, that no such change may have a material adverse effect on the Warrants and/or the holders thereof;

 

    are necessary or appropriate for any action taken by our general partner relating to splits or combinations of units under the provisions of our partnership agreement; or

 

    are required to effect the intent expressed in this prospectus or the intent of the provisions of our partnership agreement or are otherwise contemplated by our partnership agreement.

Opinion of Counsel and Unitholder Approval

Any amendment that our general partner determines adversely affects in any material respect one or more particular classes of limited partners, and is not permitted to be adopted by our general partner without limited

 

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partner approval, requires the approval of at least a majority of the class or classes so affected, but no vote will be required by any class or classes of limited partners that our general partner determines are not adversely affected in any material respect. Any such amendment that would have a material adverse effect on the rights or preferences of any type or class of outstanding units in relation to other classes of units requires the approval of at least a majority of the type or class of units so affected. Any such amendment that would reduce the voting percentage required to take any action other than to remove the general partner or call a meeting of unitholders is required to be approved by the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than the voting requirement sought to be reduced. Any such amendment that would increase the percentage of units required to remove the general partner or call a meeting of unitholders must be approved by the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than the percentage sought to be increased. Any such amendment that would affect the definitions of “Converted Units,” “Outstanding,” “Uniformity Action,” and “Warrants” in certain sections of our partnership agreement in a manner that is adverse to the Warrants and/or the holders thereof, or the holder of Converted Units must be approved by (i) (in the case of any such amendment that is adverse to the Warrants or the holders thereof) the holders of not less than a majority of the Warrants, or (ii) (in the case of any such amendment that is adverse to the holders of the Converted Units) the holders of not less than a majority of the Converted Units.

For amendments of the type not requiring unitholder approval, our general partner is not required to obtain an opinion of counsel that an amendment will neither result in a loss of limited liability to the limited partners nor result in our being treated as a taxable entity for federal income tax purposes in connection with any of the amendments. No other amendments to our partnership agreement will become effective without the approval of holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units, voting as a single class, unless we first obtain an opinion of counsel to the effect that the amendment will not affect the limited liability under applicable law of any of our limited partners.

Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets

A merger, consolidation or conversion of us requires the prior consent of our general partner. However, our general partner has no duty or obligation to consent to any merger, consolidation or conversion and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interest of us or the limited partners.

In addition, our partnership agreement generally prohibits our general partner, without the prior approval of the holders of a unit majority, from causing us to sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets in a single transaction or a series of related transactions, including by way of merger, consolidation or other combination. Our general partner may, however, mortgage, pledge, hypothecate or grant a security interest in all or substantially all of our assets without such approval. Our general partner may also sell all or substantially all of our assets under a foreclosure or other realization upon those encumbrances without such approval. Finally, our general partner may consummate any merger without the prior approval of our unitholders if we are the surviving entity in the transaction, our general partner has received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, the transaction would not result in a material amendment to the partnership agreement (other than an amendment that the general partner could adopt without the consent of other partners), each of our units will be an identical unit of our partnership following the transaction and the partnership interests to be issued do not exceed 20% of our outstanding partnership interests (other than incentive distribution rights) immediately prior to the transaction.

If the conditions specified in our partnership agreement are satisfied, our general partner may convert us or any of our subsidiaries into a new limited liability entity or merge us or any of our subsidiaries into, or convey all of our assets to, a newly formed entity, if the sole purpose of that conversion, merger or conveyance is to effect a mere change in our legal form into another limited liability entity, we have received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters and the governing instruments of the new entity provide the limited partners and our general partner with the same rights and obligations as contained in our partnership agreement.

 

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Our unitholders are not entitled to dissenters’ rights of appraisal under our partnership agreement or applicable Delaware law in the event of a conversion, merger or consolidation, a sale of substantially all of our assets or any other similar transaction or event.

Dissolution

We will continue as a limited partnership until dissolved under our partnership agreement. We will dissolve upon:

 

    the election of our general partner to dissolve us, if approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority;

 

    there being no limited partners, unless we are continued without dissolution in accordance with applicable Delaware law;

 

    the entry of a decree of judicial dissolution of our partnership; or

 

    the withdrawal or removal of our general partner or any other event that results in its ceasing to be our general partner other than by reason of a transfer of its general partner interest in accordance with our partnership agreement or its withdrawal or removal following the approval and admission of a successor.

Upon a dissolution under the last clause above, the holders of a unit majority may also elect, within specific time limitations, to continue our business on the same terms and conditions described in our partnership agreement by appointing as a successor general partner an entity approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority, subject to our receipt of an opinion of counsel to the effect that:

 

    the action would not result in the loss of limited liability under Delaware law of any limited partner; and

 

    neither our partnership nor any of our subsidiaries would be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise be taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes upon the exercise of that right to continue (to the extent not already so treated or taxed).

Liquidation and Distribution of Proceeds

Upon our dissolution, unless our business is continued, the liquidator authorized to wind up our affairs will, acting with all of the powers of our general partner that are necessary or appropriate, liquidate our assets and apply the proceeds of the liquidation as described in “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners—Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation.” The liquidator may defer liquidation or distribution of our assets for a reasonable period of time or distribute assets to partners in kind if it determines that a sale would be impractical or would cause undue loss to our partners.

Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner

Except as described below, our general partner has agreed not to withdraw voluntarily as our general partner prior to March 31, 2024 without obtaining the approval of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and furnishing an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. On or after March 31, 2024, our general partner may withdraw as general partner without first obtaining approval of any unitholder by giving 90 days’ written notice, and that withdrawal will not constitute a violation of our partnership agreement. Notwithstanding the information above, our general partner may withdraw without unitholder approval upon 90 days’ notice to the limited partners if at least 50% of the outstanding common units are held or controlled by one person and its affiliates, other than our general partner and its affiliates. In addition, our partnership agreement permits our general partner, in some instances, to sell or otherwise transfer all of its general partner interest in us without the approval of the unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Interest.”

 

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Upon withdrawal of our general partner under any circumstances, other than as a result of a transfer by our general partner of all or a part of its general partner interest in us, the holders of a unit majority may select a successor to that withdrawing general partner. If a successor is not elected, or is elected but an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters cannot be obtained, we will be dissolved, wound up and liquidated, unless within a specified period after that withdrawal, the holders of a unit majority agree in writing to continue our business and to appoint a successor general partner. Please read “—Dissolution.”

Our general partner may not be removed unless that removal is approved by the vote of the holders of not less than 66 23% of the outstanding units, voting together as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and we receive an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. Any removal of our general partner is also subject to the approval of a successor general partner by the vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units, voting as a class, and the outstanding subordinated units, voting as a class. The ownership of more than 33 13% of the outstanding units by our general partner and its affiliates gives them the ability to prevent our general partner’s removal.

Our partnership agreement also provides that if our general partner is removed as our general partner under circumstances where cause does not exist:

 

    all subordinated units held by any person who did not, and whose affiliates did not, vote any units in favor of the removal of the general partner, will immediately and automatically convert into common units on a one-for-one basis; and

 

    if all of the subordinated units convert pursuant to the foregoing, all cumulative common unit arrearages on the common units will be extinguished and the subordination period will end.

In the event of the removal of our general partner under circumstances where cause exists or withdrawal of our general partner where that withdrawal violates our partnership agreement, a successor general partner will have the option to purchase the general partner interest and incentive distribution rights of the departing general partner and its affiliates for a cash payment equal to the fair market value of those interests. Under all other circumstances where our general partner withdraws or is removed by the limited partners, the departing general partner will have the option to require the successor general partner to purchase the general partner interest and the incentive distribution rights of the departing general partner and its affiliates for fair market value. In each case, this fair market value will be determined by agreement between the departing general partner and the successor general partner. If no agreement is reached, an independent investment banking firm or other independent expert selected by the departing general partner and the successor general partner will determine the fair market value. Or, if the departing general partner and the successor general partner cannot agree upon an expert, then an expert chosen by agreement of the experts selected by each of them will determine the fair market value.

If the option described above is not exercised by either the departing general partner or the successor general partner, the departing general partner’s general partner interest and all of its and its affiliates’ incentive distribution rights will automatically convert into common units equal to the fair market value of those interests as determined by an investment banking firm or other independent expert selected in the manner described in the preceding paragraph.

In addition, we will be required to reimburse the departing general partner for all amounts due the departing general partner, including, without limitation, all employee-related liabilities, including severance liabilities, incurred as a result of the termination of any employees employed for our benefit by the departing general partner or its affiliates.

Transfer of General Partner Interest

At any time, our general partner may transfer all or any of its general partner interest to another person without the approval of our common unitholders. As a condition of this transfer, the transferee must, among other

 

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things, assume the rights and duties of our general partner, agree to be bound by the provisions of our partnership agreement and furnish an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters.

Transfer of Ownership Interests in the General Partner

At any time, the owners of our general partner may sell or transfer all or part of its ownership interests in our general partner to an affiliate or third party without the approval of our unitholders.

Transfer of Subordinated Units and Incentive Distribution Rights

By transfer of subordinated units or incentive distribution rights in accordance with our partnership agreement, each transferee of subordinated units or incentive distribution rights will be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the subordinated units or incentive distribution rights transferred when such transfer and admission is reflected in our books and records. Each transferee:

 

    represents that the transferee has the capacity, power and authority to become bound by our partnership agreement;

 

    automatically becomes bound by the terms and conditions of our partnership agreement; and

 

    gives the consents, waivers and approvals contained in our partnership agreement, such as the approval of all transactions and agreements we entered into in connection with our formation and our initial public offering.

Our general partner will cause any transfers to be recorded on our books and records no less frequently than quarterly.

We may, at our discretion, treat the nominee holder of subordinated units or incentive distribution rights as the absolute owner. In that case, the beneficial holder’s rights are limited solely to those that it has against the nominee holder as a result of any agreement between the beneficial owner and the nominee holder.

Subordinated units and incentive distribution rights are securities and any transfers are subject to the laws governing transfer of securities. In addition to other rights acquired upon transfer, the transferor gives the transferee the right to become a limited partner for the transferred subordinated units or incentive distribution rights.

Until a subordinated unit or incentive distribution right has been transferred on our books, we and the transfer agent may treat the record holder of the unit or right as the absolute owner for all purposes, except as otherwise required by law or stock exchange regulations.

Change of Management Provisions

Our partnership agreement contains specific provisions that are intended to discourage a person or group from attempting to remove Foresight Energy GP as our general partner or from otherwise changing our management. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner” for a discussion of certain consequences of the removal of our general partner. If any person or group, other than our general partner and its affiliates, acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units, that person or group loses voting rights on all of its units. This loss of voting rights does not apply in certain circumstances. Please read “—Meetings; Voting.”

Limited Call Right

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the then-issued and outstanding limited partner interests of any class, our general partner will have the right, which it may assign in whole or in

 

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part to any of its affiliates or to us, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the limited partner interests of the class held by unaffiliated persons, as of a record date to be selected by our general partner, on at least 10, but not more than 60, days’ notice. The purchase price in the event of this purchase is the greater of:

 

    the highest price paid by our general partner or any of its affiliates for any limited partner interests of the class purchased within the 90 days preceding the date on which our general partner first mails notice of its election to purchase those limited partner interests; and

 

    the average of the daily closing prices of the partnership securities of such class over the 20 trading days preceding the date that is three days before the date the notice is mailed.

As a result of our general partner’s right to purchase outstanding limited partner interests, a holder of limited partner interests may have his limited partner interests purchased at an undesirable time or at a price that may be lower than market prices at various times prior to such purchase or lower than a unitholder may anticipate the market price to be in the future. The tax consequences to a unitholder of the exercise of this call right are the same as a sale by that unitholder of his common units in the market. Please read “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences—Disposition of Units.”

Non-Taxpaying Holders; Redemption

To avoid any adverse effect on the maximum applicable rates chargeable to customers by us or any of our future subsidiaries, or in order to reverse an adverse determination that has occurred regarding such maximum rate, our partnership agreement provides our general partner the power to amend our partnership agreement. If our general partner, with the advice of counsel, determines that our not being treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes, coupled with the tax status (or lack of proof thereof) of one or more of our limited partners (or their owners, to the extent relevant), has, or is reasonably likely to have, a material adverse effect on the maximum applicable rates chargeable to customers by our subsidiaries, then our general partner may adopt such amendments to our partnership agreement as it determines necessary or advisable to:

 

    obtain proof of the federal income tax status of our limited partners (and their owners, to the extent relevant); and

 

    permit us to redeem the units held by any person whose tax status has or is reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the maximum applicable rates or who fails to comply with the procedures instituted by our general partner to obtain proof of such person’s federal income tax status. The redemption price in the case of such a redemption will be the average of the daily closing prices per unit for the 20 consecutive trading days immediately prior to the date set for redemption.

Non-Citizen Assignees; Redemption

If our general partner, with the advice of counsel, determines we are subject to federal, state or local laws or regulations that, in the reasonable determination of our general partner, create a substantial risk of cancellation or forfeiture of any property that we have an interest in because of the nationality, citizenship or other related status of any limited partner (or its owners, to the extent relevant), then our general partner may adopt such amendments to our partnership agreement as it determines necessary or advisable to:

 

    Obtain proof of the nationality, citizenship or other related status of our limited partners (and their owners, to the extent relevant); and

 

    Permit us to redeem the units held by any person whose nationality, citizenship or other related status creates substantial risk of cancellation or forfeiture of any property or who fails to comply with the procedures instituted by our general partner to obtain proof of the nationality, citizenship or other related status. The redemption price in the case of such a redemption will be the average of the daily closing prices per unit for the 20 consecutive trading days immediately prior to the date set for redemption.

 

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Meetings; Voting

Except as described below regarding a person or group owning 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, record holders of units on the record date will be entitled to notice of, and to vote at, meetings of our limited partners and to act upon matters for which approvals may be solicited.

Our general partner does not anticipate that any meeting of our unitholders will be called in the foreseeable future. Any action that is required or permitted to be taken by the unitholders may be taken either at a meeting of the unitholders or without a meeting if consents in writing describing the action so taken are signed by holders of the number of units necessary to authorize or take that action at a meeting. Meetings of the unitholders may be called by our general partner or by unitholders owning at least 20% of the outstanding units of the class for which a meeting is proposed. Unitholders may vote either in person or by proxy at meetings. The holders of a majority of the outstanding units of the class or classes for which a meeting has been called, represented in person or by proxy, will constitute a quorum, unless any action by the unitholders requires approval by holders of a greater percentage of the units, in which case the quorum will be the greater percentage. Our general partner may postpone any meeting of unitholders one or more times for any reason by giving notice to the unitholders entitled to vote at such meeting. Our general partner may also adjourn any meeting of unitholders one or more times for any reason, including the absence of a quorum, without a vote of the unitholders.

Each record holder of a unit has a vote according to his percentage interest in us, although additional limited partner interests having special voting rights could be issued. Please read “—Issuance of Additional Interests.” However, if at any time any person or group, other than our general partner and its affiliates, or a direct or subsequently approved transferee of our general partner or its affiliates and purchasers specifically approved by our general partner, acquires, in the aggregate, beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, that person or group will lose voting rights on all of its units and the units may not be voted on any matter and will not be considered to be outstanding when sending notices of a meeting of unitholders, calculating required votes, determining the presence of a quorum or for other similar purposes. Such loss of voting rights shall not apply, however, to any person or group that becomes the beneficial owner of 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding upon the exercise of the Warrants. Common units held in nominee or street name account will be voted by the broker or other nominee in accordance with the instruction of the beneficial owner unless the arrangement between the beneficial owner and his nominee provides otherwise. Except as our partnership agreement otherwise provides, subordinated units will vote together with common units, as a single class.

Any notice, demand, request, report or proxy material required or permitted to be given or made to record common unitholders under our partnership agreement will be delivered to the record holder by us or by the transfer agent.

Any notice, demand, request, report or proxy material required or permitted to be given or made to record common unitholders under our partnership agreement will be delivered to the record holder by us or by the transfer agent.

Voting Rights of Incentive Distribution Rights

If a majority of the incentive distribution rights are held by our general partner and its affiliates, the holders of the incentive distribution rights will have no right to vote in respect of such rights on any matter, unless otherwise required by law, and the holders of the incentive distribution rights, shall be deemed to have approved any matter approved by our general partner.

If less than a majority of the incentive distribution rights are held by our general partner and its affiliates, the incentive distribution rights will be entitled to vote on all matters submitted to a vote of unitholders, other than amendments and other matters that our general partner determines do not adversely affect the holders of the

 

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incentive distribution rights in any material respect. On any matter in which the holders of incentive distribution rights are entitled to vote, such holders will vote together with the subordinated units, prior to the end of the subordination period, or together with the common units, thereafter, in either case as a single class, and such incentive distribution rights shall be treated in all respects as subordinated units or common units, as applicable, when sending notices of a meeting of our limited partners to vote on any matter (unless otherwise required by law), calculating required votes, determining the presence of a quorum or for other similar purposes under our partnership agreement. The relative voting power of the holders of the incentive distribution rights and the subordinated units or common units, depending on which class the holders of incentive distribution rights are voting with, will be set in the same proportion as cumulative cash distributions, if any, in respect of the incentive distribution rights for the four consecutive quarters prior to the record date for the vote bears to the cumulative cash distributions in respect of such class of units for such four quarters.

Status as Limited Partner

By transfer of common units in accordance with our partnership agreement, each transferee of common units shall be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the common units transferred when such transfer and admission are reflected in our books and records. Except as described under “—Limited Liability,” the common units will be fully paid, and unitholders will not be required to make additional contributions.

Indemnification

Under our partnership agreement, in most circumstances, we will indemnify the following persons, to the fullest extent permitted by law, from and against all losses, claims, damages or similar events:

 

    our general partner;

 

    any departing general partner;

 

    any person who is or was an affiliate of our general partner or any departing general partner;

 

    any person who is or was a manager, managing member, general partner, director, officer, fiduciary or trustee of our partnership, our subsidiaries, our general partner, any departing general partner or any of their affiliates;

 

    any person who is or was serving as a manager, managing member, general partner, director, officer, employee, agent, fiduciary or trustee of another person owing a fiduciary duty to us or our subsidiaries;

 

    any person who controls our general partner or any departing general partner; and

 

    any person designated by our general partner.

Any indemnification under these provisions will only be out of our assets. Unless our general partner otherwise agrees, it will not be personally liable for, or have any obligation to contribute or lend funds or assets to us to enable us to effectuate, indemnification. We may purchase insurance against liabilities asserted against and expenses incurred by persons for our activities, regardless of whether we would have the power to indemnify the person against liabilities under our partnership agreement.

Reimbursement of Expenses

Our partnership agreement requires us to reimburse our general partner for all direct and indirect expenses it incurs or payments it makes on our behalf and all other expenses allocable to us or otherwise incurred by our general partner in connection with operating our business. Our partnership agreement does not set a limit on the amount of expenses for which our general partner and its affiliates may be reimbursed. These expenses include salary, bonus, incentive compensation and other amounts paid to persons who perform services for us or on our behalf and expenses allocated to our general partner by its affiliates. Our general partner is entitled to determine the expenses that are allocable to us.

 

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Books and Reports

Our general partner is required to keep appropriate books of our business at our principal offices. These books are maintained for both tax and financial reporting purposes on an accrual basis. For tax and fiscal reporting purposes, our fiscal year is the calendar year.

We will furnish or make available to record holders of our common units, within 105 days after the close of each fiscal year, an annual report containing audited consolidated financial statements and a report on those consolidated financial statements by our independent public accountants. Except for our fourth quarter, we will also furnish or make available summary financial information within 50 days after the close of each quarter. We will be deemed to have made any such report available if we file such report with the SEC on EDGAR or make the report available on a publicly available website which we maintain.

We will furnish each record holder with information reasonably required for federal and state tax reporting purposes within 90 days after the close of each calendar year. This information is expected to be furnished in summary form so that some complex calculations normally required of partners can be avoided. Our ability to furnish this summary information to our unitholders will depend on their cooperation in supplying us with specific information. Every unitholder will receive information to assist him in determining his federal and state tax liability and in filing his federal and state income tax returns, regardless of whether he supplies us with the necessary information.

Right to Inspect Our Books and Records

Our partnership agreement provides that a limited partner can, for a purpose reasonably related to his interest as a limited partner, upon reasonable written demand stating the purpose of such demand and at his own expense, have furnished to him:

 

    a current list of the name and last known address of each record holder; and

 

    copies of our partnership agreement, our certificate of limited partnership, related amendments and powers of attorney under which they have been executed.

Under our partnership agreement, however, each of our limited partners and other persons who acquire interests in our partnership interests, do not have rights to receive information from us or any of the persons we indemnify as described above under “—Indemnification” for the purpose of determining whether to pursue litigation or assist in pending litigation against us or those indemnified persons relating to our affairs, except pursuant to the applicable rules of discovery relating to the litigation commenced by the person seeking information.

Our general partner may, and intends to, keep confidential from the limited partners trade secrets or other information the disclosure of which our general partner determines is not in our best interests or that we are required by law or by agreements with third parties to keep confidential. Our partnership agreement limits the rights to information that a limited partner would otherwise have under Delaware law.

Registration Rights

Under our partnership agreement, we have agreed to register for resale under the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws any common units, subordinated units or other limited partner interests proposed to be sold by our general partner or any of its affiliates or their assignees if an exemption from the registration requirements is not otherwise available. These registration rights continue for two years following any withdrawal or removal of our general partner. We are obligated to pay all expenses incidental to the registration, excluding underwriting discounts.

 

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CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND FIDUCIARY DUTIES

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest exist and may arise in the future as a result of the relationships between our general partner and its directors, officers and owners, including Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves, on the one hand, and us and our limited partners, on the other hand. Conflicts may arise as a result of the duties of our general partner and its directors and officers to act for the benefit of its owners, which may conflict with our interests and the interests of our public unitholders. The directors and officers of our general partner have fiduciary duties to manage our general partner in a manner beneficial to its owners. At the same time, our general partner has a contractual duty to manage us in a manner that it believes is not adverse to our interest. Our partnership agreement specifically defines the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken that, without these defined liability standards, might constitute breaches of fiduciary duty under applicable Delaware law. The Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, which we refer to as the Delaware Act, provides that Delaware limited partnerships may, in their partnership agreements, expand, restrict or eliminate the fiduciary duties otherwise owed by the general partner to the limited partners and the partnership.

Whenever a conflict arises between our general partner or its affiliates, on the one hand, and us or our limited partners, on the other hand, the resolution or course of action in respect of such conflict of interest shall be permitted and deemed approved by us and all our limited partners and shall not constitute a breach of our partnership agreement, of any agreement contemplated thereby or of any duty, if the resolution or course of action in respect of such conflict of interest is:

 

    approved by the conflicts committee of our general partner, although our general partner is not obligated to seek such approval; or

 

    approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding any such units owned by our general partner or any of its affiliates.

Our general partner may, but is not required to, seek the approval of such resolutions or courses of action from the conflicts committee of its board of directors or from the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units as described above. If our general partner does not seek approval from the conflicts committee or from holders of common units as described above and the board of directors of our general partner approves the resolution or course of action taken with respect to the conflict of interest, then it will be presumed that, in making its decision, the board of directors of our general partner acted in good faith, and in any proceeding brought by or on behalf of us or any of our unitholders, the person bringing or prosecuting such proceeding will have the burden of overcoming such presumption and proving that such decision was not in good faith. Unless the resolution of a conflict is specifically provided for in our partnership agreement, the board of directors of our general partner or the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner may consider any factors they determine in good faith to consider when resolving a conflict. An independent third party is not required to evaluate the resolution. Under our partnership agreement, a determination, other action or failure to act by our general partner, the board of directors of our general partner or any committee thereof (including the conflicts committee) will be deemed to be “in good faith” unless our general partner, the board of directors of our general partner or any committee thereof (including the conflicts committee) believed such determination, other action or failure to act was adverse to the interest of the partnership. See “Management—Committees of the Board of Directors—Conflicts Committee” for information about the conflicts committee of our general partner’s board of directors.

Conflicts of interest could arise in the situations described below, among others:

 

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Actions taken by our general partner may affect the amount of cash available to pay distributions to unitholders.

The amount of cash that is available for distribution to unitholders is affected by decisions of our general partner regarding such matters as:

 

    Amount and timing of asset purchases and sales;

 

    Cash expenditures;

 

    Borrowings;

 

    Entry into and repayment of current and future indebtedness;

 

    Issuance of additional units; and

 

    The creation, reduction or increase of reserves in any quarter.

In addition, borrowings by us and our affiliates do not constitute a breach of any duty owed by our general partner to our unitholders, including borrowings that have the purpose or effect of enabling our general partner or its affiliates to receive distributions on the incentive distribution rights.

In addition, our general partner may use an amount, initially equal to $125 million, which would not otherwise constitute operating surplus, in order to permit the payment of distributions on the incentive distribution rights. All of these actions may affect the amount of cash or equity distributed to our unitholders and holders of incentive distributions rights. Please read “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners.”

For example, in the event we have not generated sufficient cash from our operations to pay the minimum quarterly distribution on our common units, our partnership agreement permits us to borrow funds, which would enable us to make such distribution on all outstanding units. See “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners—Operating Surplus and Capital Surplus—Operating Surplus.”

The directors and officers of our general partner have a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the owners of our general partner, which may be contrary to our interests.

Because certain officers and certain directors of our general partner are also directors and/or officers of affiliates of our general partner, including Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves, they have fiduciary duties to Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves that may cause them to pursue business strategies that disproportionately benefit Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves or which otherwise are not in our best interests.

Our general partner is allowed to take into account the interests of parties other than us, such as Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves in exercising certain rights under our partnership agreement.

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that replace the standards to which our general partner would otherwise be held by state fiduciary duty law. For example, our partnership agreement permits our general partner to make a number of decisions in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner. This entitles our general partner to consider only the interests and factors that it desires, and it has no duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of, or factors affecting, us, our affiliates or any limited partner. Examples include the exercise of its call right, its voting rights with respect to any units it owns, its registration rights and its determination whether or not to consent to any merger or consolidation or amendment of the partnership agreement.

 

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Our partnership agreement limits the liability of, and replaces the duties owed by, our general partner and also restricts the remedies available to our unitholders for actions that, without the limitations, might constitute breaches of fiduciary duty.

In addition to the provisions described above, our partnership agreement contains provisions that restrict the remedies available to our unitholders for actions that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duty. For example, our partnership agreement provides that:

 

    our general partner will not have any liability to us or our unitholders for decisions made in its capacity as general partner so long as it acted in good faith, meaning it believed that the decision was not adverse to the interest of the partnership, and, with respect to criminal conduct, did not act with the knowledge that its conduct was unlawful;

 

    our general partner and its officers and directors will not be liable for monetary damages or otherwise to us or our limited partners for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that such losses or liabilities were the result of the conduct of our general partner or such officer or director engaged in by it acted in bad faith or, with respect to any criminal conduct, with the knowledge that its conduct was unlawful; and

 

    in resolving conflicts of interest, it will be presumed that in making its decision our general partner, the board of directors of our general partner or the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner acted in good faith, and in any proceeding brought by or on behalf of any limited partner or us, the person bringing or prosecuting such proceeding will have the burden of overcoming such presumption and proving that such decision was not in good faith.

By purchasing a common unit, a common unitholder will agree to become bound by the provisions in our partnership agreement, including the provisions discussed above. See “—Fiduciary Duties.”

Our partnership agreement provides that the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner may be comprised of one or more independent directors. If our general partner establishes a conflicts committee with only one independent director, your interests may not be as well served as if the conflicts committee were comprised of at least two independent directors. A single-member conflicts committee would not have the benefit of discussion with, and input from, other independent directors.

Common unitholders have no right to enforce obligations of our general partner and its affiliates under agreements with us.

Any agreements between us, on the one hand, and our general partner and its affiliates, on the other, will not grant to the unitholders, separate and apart from us, the right to enforce the obligations of our general partner and its affiliates in our favor.

Contracts between us, on the one hand, and our general partner and its affiliates, on the other, are not and will not be the result of arm’s-length negotiations.

Neither our partnership agreement nor any of the other agreements, contracts and arrangements between us and our general partner and its affiliates are or will be the result of arm’s-length negotiations. Our general partner will determine, in good faith, the terms of any of such future transactions.

 

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Except in limited circumstances, our general partner has the power and authority to conduct our business without unitholder approval.

Under our partnership agreement, our general partner has full power and authority to do all things, other than those items that require unitholder approval, necessary or appropriate to conduct our business including, but not limited to, the following actions:

 

    expending, lending, or borrowing money, assuming, guaranteeing, or otherwise contracting for, indebtedness and other liabilities, issuing evidences of indebtedness, including indebtedness that is convertible into our securities, and incurring any other obligations;

 

    preparing and transmitting tax, regulatory and other filings, periodic or other reports to governmental or other agencies having jurisdiction over our business or assets;

 

    acquiring, disposing, mortgaging, pledging, encumbering, hypothecating, or exchanging our assets or merging or otherwise combining us with or into another person;

 

    negotiating, executing and performing contracts, conveyance or other instruments;

 

    distributing cash or cash equivalents;

 

    selecting, employing or dismissing employees, agents, outside attorneys, accountants, consultants and contractors and determining their compensation and other terms of employment or hiring;

 

    maintaining insurance for our benefit;

 

    forming, acquiring an interest in, and contributing property and loaning money to, any further limited partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, limited liability companies or other entity (including corporations, firms, trusts and unincorporated organizations);

 

    controlling all matters affecting our rights and obligations, including bringing and defending actions at law or in equity or otherwise litigating, arbitrating or mediating, and incurring legal expense and settling claims and litigation;

 

    indemnifying any person against liabilities and contingencies to the extent permitted by law;

 

    purchasing, selling or otherwise acquiring or disposing of our partnership interests, or issuing additional options, rights, warrants, appreciation rights, phantom or tracking, profit and phantom interests and other derivative interests relating to, convertible into or exchangeable for our partnership interests; and

 

    entering into agreements with any of its affiliates, including to render services to us or to itself in the discharge of its duties as our general partner.

See “The Partnership Agreement” for information regarding the voting rights of unitholders.

Common units are subject to our general partner’s call right.

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the common units, our general partner will have the right, which it may assign to any of its affiliates or to us, but not the obligation, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the common units held by unaffiliated persons at the price calculated in accordance with our partnership agreement. Please read “The Partnership Agreement—Limited Call Right.”

We may choose to not retain separate counsel for ourselves or for the holders of common units.

The attorneys, independent accountants and others who perform services for us have been retained by our general partner. Attorneys, independent accountants and others who perform services for us are selected by our general partner or the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner and may perform

 

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services for our general partner and its affiliates. We may retain separate counsel for ourselves or the conflict committee in the event of a conflict of interest between our general partner and its affiliates, on the one hand, and us or the holders of common units, on the other, depending on the nature of the conflict, although we may choose not to do so.

Our general partner’s affiliates may compete with us, and neither our general partner nor its affiliates have any obligation to present business opportunities to us.

Our partnership agreement provides that our general partner will be restricted from engaging in any business activities other than acting as our general partner, engaging in activities incidental to its ownership interest in us and providing management, advisory, and administrative services to its affiliates or to other persons. However, affiliates of our general partner, including our sponsor, are not prohibited from engaging in other businesses or activities, including those that might be in direct competition with us. In addition, our sponsor may compete with us for investment opportunities and may own an interest in entities that compete with us. Pursuant to the terms of our partnership agreement, the doctrine of corporate opportunity, or any analogous doctrine, does not apply to our general partner or any of its affiliates, including its executive officers and directors and our sponsor. Any such person or entity that becomes aware of a potential transaction, agreement, arrangement or other matter that may be an opportunity for us will not have any duty to communicate or offer such opportunity to us. Any such person or entity will not be liable to us or to any limited partner for breach of any fiduciary duty or other duty by reason of the fact that such person or entity pursues or acquires such opportunity for itself, directs such opportunity to another person or entity or does not communicate such opportunity or information to us.

The holder or holders of our incentive distribution rights may elect to cause us to issue common units to it in connection with a resetting of target distribution levels relating to the incentive distribution rights without the approval of the conflicts committee of our general partner’s board of directors or the holders of our common units. This could result in lower distributions to our common unitholders in certain situations.

The holder or holders of a majority of our incentive distribution rights (initially our general partner) have the right, at any time when there are no subordinated units outstanding and we have made cash distributions in excess of the then-applicable third target distribution for each of the prior four consecutive fiscal quarters, to reset the initial target distribution levels at higher levels based on our cash distribution levels at the time of the exercise of the reset election. Following a reset election, a baseline distribution amount will be calculated equal to an amount equal to the prior cash distribution per common unit for the fiscal quarter immediately preceding the reset election (such amount is referred to as the “reset minimum quarterly distribution”), and the target distribution levels will be reset to correspondingly higher levels based on percentage increases above the reset minimum quarterly distribution.

We anticipate that our general partner would exercise this reset right in order to facilitate acquisitions or internal growth projects that would not be sufficiently accretive to cash distributions per unit without such conversion. However, our general partner may transfer the incentive distribution rights at any time. It is possible that our general partner or a transferee could exercise this reset election at a time when we are experiencing declines in our aggregate cash distributions or at a time when the holders of the incentive distribution rights expect that we will experience declines in our aggregate cash distributions in the foreseeable future. In such situations, the holders of the incentive distribution rights may be experiencing, or may expect to experience, declines in the cash distributions it receives related to the incentive distribution rights and may therefore desire to be issued our common units, rather than retain the right to receive incentive distribution payments based on the initial target distribution levels that are less certain to be achieved. As a result, a reset election may cause our common unitholders to experience a reduction in the amount of cash distributions that they would have otherwise received had we not issued new common units to the holders of the incentive distribution rights in connection with resetting the target distribution levels. Please read “How We Make Distributions To Our Partners—General Partner Interest—Incentive Distribution Right Holders’ Right to Reset Incentive Distribution Levels.”

 

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Fiduciary Duties

Duties owed to unitholders by our general partner are prescribed by law and in our partnership agreement. The Delaware Act provides that Delaware limited partnerships may, in their partnership agreements, expand, restrict or eliminate the fiduciary duties otherwise owed by the general partner to limited partners and the partnership.

Our partnership agreement contains various provisions that eliminate and replace the fiduciary duties that might otherwise be owed by our general partner. We have adopted these provisions to allow our general partner or its affiliates to engage in transactions with us that otherwise might be prohibited by state law fiduciary standards and to take into account the interests of other parties in addition to our interests when resolving conflicts of interest. We believe this is appropriate and necessary because the board of directors of our general partner has a duty to manage our partnership in good faith and a duty to manage our general partner in a manner beneficial to its owner. Without these modifications, our general partner’s ability to make decisions involving conflicts of interest would be restricted. Replacing the fiduciary duty standards in this manner benefits our general partner by enabling it to take into consideration all parties involved in the proposed action. Replacing the fiduciary duty standards also strengthens the ability of our general partner to attract and retain experienced and capable directors. Replacing the fiduciary duty standards represents a detriment to our public unitholders because it restricts the remedies available to our public unitholders for actions that, without those limitations, might constitute breaches of fiduciary duty, as described below, and permits our general partner to take into account the interests of third parties in addition to our interests when resolving conflicts of interests.

The following is a summary of the fiduciary duties imposed on general partners of a limited partnership by the Delaware Act in the absence of partnership agreement provisions to the contrary, the contractual duties of our general partner contained in our partnership agreement that replace the fiduciary duties that would otherwise be imposed by Delaware laws on our general partner and the rights and remedies of our unitholders with respect to these contractual duties:

 

State law fiduciary duty standards

Fiduciary duties are generally considered to include an obligation to act in good faith and with due care and loyalty. The duty of care, in the absence of a provision in a partnership agreement providing otherwise, would generally require a general partner to act for the partnership in the same manner as a prudent person would act on his own behalf. The duty of loyalty, in the absence of a provision in a partnership agreement providing otherwise, would generally require that any action taken or transaction engaged in be entirely fair to the partnership.

 

Partnership agreement modified standards

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that waive or consent to conduct by our general partner and its affiliates that might otherwise raise issues as to compliance with fiduciary duties or applicable law. For example, our partnership agreement provides that when our general partner is acting in its capacity as our general partner, as opposed to in its individual capacity, it must act in “good faith” meaning that it believed its actions or omissions were not adverse to the interest of the partnership, and will not be subject to any higher standard under applicable law. In addition, when our general partner is acting in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner, it may act without any fiduciary obligation to us or the unitholders whatsoever. These contractual standards replace the obligations to which our general partner would otherwise be held.

 

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  In making decisions, other than one where our general partner is permitted to act in its sole discretion, it will be presumed that in making its decisions our general partner, the board of directors of our general partner or conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner acted in good faith, and in any proceeding brought by or on behalf of any limited partner or us, the person bringing or prosecuting such proceeding will have the burden of overcoming such presumption and proving that such decision was not in good faith.

 

Rights and remedies of unitholders

The Delaware Act generally provides that a limited partner may institute legal action on behalf of the partnership to recover damages from a third party where a general partner has refused to institute the action or where an effort to cause a general partner to do so is not likely to succeed. These actions include actions against a general partner for breach of its duties or of our partnership agreement. In addition, the statutory or case law of some jurisdictions may permit a limited partner to institute legal action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated limited partners to recover damages from a general partner for violations of its fiduciary duties to the limited partners.

By purchasing our common units, the purchaser agrees to be bound by the provisions in our partnership agreement, including the provisions discussed above. This is in accordance with the policy of the Delaware Act favoring the principle of freedom of contract and the enforceability of partnership agreements. The failure of a limited partner to sign a partnership agreement does not render the partnership agreement unenforceable against that person.

Under our partnership agreement, we must indemnify our general partner and its officers, directors, managers and certain other specified persons, to the fullest extent permitted by law, against liabilities, costs and expenses incurred by our general partner or these other persons. We must provide this indemnification unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that such losses or liabilities were the result of the conduct of our general partner or such officer or director engaged in by it in bad faith or, with respect to any criminal conduct, with the knowledge that its conduct was unlawful. Thus, our general partner could be indemnified for its negligent acts if it meets the requirements set forth above. To the extent these provisions purport to include indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act in the opinion of the SEC, such indemnification is contrary to public policy and, therefore, unenforceable. Please read “The Partnership Agreement—Indemnification.”

 

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MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES

This section summarizes the material U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to prospective unitholders and is based upon current provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), existing and proposed Treasury regulations thereunder (the “Treasury Regulations”), and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to change. Changes in these authorities may cause the federal income tax consequences to a prospective unitholder to vary substantially from those described below, possibly on a retroactive basis. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “we” “us” or “the Partnership” are references to Foresight Energy LP and its subsidiaries.

Legal conclusions contained in this section, unless otherwise noted, are the opinion of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and are based on the accuracy of representations made by us to them for this purpose. However, this section does not address all federal income tax matters that may affect us or our unitholders, such as the application of the alternative minimum tax. This section also does not address local taxes, state taxes, non-U.S. taxes, or other taxes that may be applicable, except to the limited extent that such tax considerations are addressed below under “—State Local and Other Tax Considerations.” Furthermore, this section focuses on unitholders who are individual citizens or residents of the United States (for federal income tax purposes), who have the U.S. dollar as their functional currency, who use the calendar year as their taxable year, who do not materially participate in the conduct of our business activities and who hold such units as capital assets (typically, property that is held for investment). This section has limited applicability to corporations (including other entities treated as corporations for federal income tax purposes), partnerships (including other entities treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes), estates, trusts, non-resident aliens or other unitholders subject to specialized tax treatment, such as tax-exempt entities, non-U.S. persons, individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”), employee benefit plans, real estate investment trusts or mutual funds.

Accordingly, we encourage each prospective unitholder to consult the unitholder’s own tax advisor in analyzing the federal, state, local and non-U.S. tax consequences particular to that unitholder resulting from ownership or disposition of our units and potential changes in applicable tax laws.

We are relying on the opinions and advice of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. with respect to the matters described herein. An opinion of counsel represents only that counsel’s best legal judgment and does not bind the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) or a court. Accordingly, the opinions and statements made herein may not be sustained by a court if contested by the IRS. Any such contest of the matters described herein may materially and adversely impact the market for our units and the prices at which our units trade. In addition, our costs of any contest with the IRS will be borne indirectly by our unitholders and our general partner because the costs will reduce our cash available for distribution. Furthermore, the tax consequences of an investment in us may be significantly modified by future legislative or administrative changes or court decisions, which may be retroactively applied.

For the reasons described below, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has not rendered an opinion with respect to the following federal income tax issues:

 

    the treatment of a unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan (e.g., a loan to a short seller to cover a short sale of units) (please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Treatment of Securities Loans”);

 

    whether our monthly convention for allocating taxable income and losses is permitted by existing Treasury Regulations (please read “—Disposition of Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees”);

 

    whether the Warrants for purchase of our common units are properly treated as noncompensatory options under Treasury Regulations, and as a result whether our allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction will be given effect for federal income tax purposes (please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction”); and

 

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    whether our method for taking into account Section 743 adjustments is sustainable in certain cases (please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election” and “—Uniformity of Units”).

Taxation of the Partnership

Partnership Status

We expect to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, therefore, subject to the discussion below under “—Administrative Matters—Information Returns and Audit Procedures”, generally will not be liable for entity-level federal income taxes. Instead, as described below, each of our unitholders will take into account its respective share of our items of income, gain, loss and deduction in computing its federal income tax liability as if the unitholder had earned such income directly, even if we make no cash distributions to the unitholder. Distributions we make to a unitholder will not give rise to income or gain taxable to such unitholder, unless the amount of cash distributed exceeds the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis in its units. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Treatment of Distributions” and “—Disposition of Units”).

Section 7704 of the Code generally provides that a publicly-traded partnership will be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. However, if 90% or more of a partnership’s gross income for every taxable year it is publicly-traded consists of “qualifying income,” the partnership may continue to be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes (the “Qualifying Income Exception”). Qualifying income includes, (i) interest, (ii) dividends, (iii) real property rents within the meaning of Section 856(d) of the Code, as modified by Section 7704(d)(3) of the Code, (iv) gains from the sale or other disposition of real property, (v) income and gains derived from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation or marketing of any “mineral or natural resource”, such as coal, and (vi) gains from the sale or other disposition of capital assets (or property described in Section 1231(b) of the Code) held for the production income that otherwise constitutes of qualifying income. We estimate that less than 4% of our current gross income is not qualifying income; however, this estimate could change from time to time.

No ruling has been or will be sought from the IRS with respect to our classification as a partnership for federal income tax purposes or as to the classification of our partnership and limited liability company operating subsidiaries. Instead we have relied on the opinion of counsel that, based upon the Code, existing Treasury Regulations, published revenue rulings and court decisions and representations described below, the Partnership and our partnership and limited liability company operating subsidiaries, other than those that have been identified as corporations to Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., will be classified as a partnerships or disregarded as an entities separate from us for federal income tax purposes.

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is of the opinion that we will be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes and each of our operating subsidiaries, other than those that have been identified as corporations to Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., will be treated as a partnership or will be disregarded as an entity separate from us. In rendering its opinion, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has relied on factual representations made by us and our general partner, including, without limitation:

(a) Neither we nor any of our partnership or limited liability company operating subsidiaries, other than those that have been identified as corporations to Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., has elected or will elect to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes;

(b) For each taxable year since and including the year of our initial public offering, more than 90% of our gross income has been and will be income of a character that Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has opined is “qualifying income” within the meaning of Section 7704(d) of the Code; and

(c) Each hedging transaction that we treat as resulting in qualifying income has been and will be appropriately identified as a hedging transaction pursuant to applicable Treasury Regulations, and has been and will be associated with oil, natural gas or products thereof that are held or to be held by us in activities that Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has opined or will opine result in qualifying income.

 

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We believe that these representations are true and will be true in the future.

If we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, other than a failure that is determined by the IRS to be inadvertent and that is cured within a reasonable time after discovery (in which case the IRS may also require us to make adjustments with respect to our unitholders or pay other amounts), we will be treated as transferring all of our assets, subject to all of our liabilities, to a newly formed corporation, on the first day of the year in which we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception in return for stock in that corporation and then as distributing that stock to our unitholders in liquidation of their interests in us. This deemed contribution and liquidation should not result in the recognition of taxable income by our unitholders or us so long as the aggregate amount of our liabilities does not exceed the adjusted tax basis of our assets. Thereafter, we would be treated as an association taxable as a corporation for federal income tax purposes.

The present federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our units may be modified by administrative or legislative action or judicial interpretation at any time. From time to time, members of the U.S. Congress have proposed and considered substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that would affect publicly-traded partnerships. One such legislative proposal would have eliminated the Qualifying Income Exception upon which we rely for our treatment as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

In addition, on January 24, 2017, final regulations regarding which activities give rise to qualifying income (the “Final Regulations”) within the meaning of Section 7704 of the Code were published in the Federal Register. The Final Regulations are effective as of January 19, 2017, and apply to taxable years beginning on or after January 19, 2017. We do not believe the Final Regulations affect our ability to qualify as a publicly traded partnership.

It is possible that a change in law could affect us and may be applied retroactively. Any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our units. If for any reason we are taxable as a corporation in any taxable year, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction would be taken into account by us in determining the amount of our liability for federal income tax, rather than being passed through to our unitholders.

At the state level, several states have been evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise, or other forms of taxation. Imposition of a similar tax on us in the jurisdictions in which we operate or in other jurisdictions to which we may expand could substantially reduce our cash available for distribution to our unitholders.

Our partnership agreement provides that if a law is enacted or existing law is modified or interpreted in a manner that subjects us to taxation as a corporation or because our general partner makes an election for us to be taxed as a corporation or otherwise subjects us to entity-level taxation for federal, state or local income tax purposes, the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution amounts may be adjusted to reflect the impact of that law on us. Our taxation as a corporation would materially reduce the cash available for distribution to unitholders and thus would likely substantially reduce the value of our units. Any distribution made to a unitholder at a time when we are treated as a corporation would be (i) a taxable dividend to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, then (ii) a nontaxable return of capital to the extent of the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis in its units (determined separately for each unit), and thereafter (iii) taxable capital gain.

The remainder of this discussion is based on the opinion of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. that we will be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

 

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Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership

Limited Partner Status

Unitholders of the Partnership who are admitted as limited partners of the partnership will be treated as partners of the Partnership for federal income tax purposes, and unitholders whose units are held in street name or by a nominee and who have the right to direct the nominee in the exercise of all substantive rights attendant to the ownership of their units will be treated as partners of the Partnership for federal income tax purposes. In addition, a beneficial owner of units whose units have been transferred to a short seller to complete a short sale would appear to lose their status as a partner with respect to such units for federal income tax purposes. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Treatment of Securities Loans.”

Income, gain, deductions or losses would not appear to be reportable by a unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes, and any cash distributions received by a unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes would therefore appear to be fully taxable as ordinary income. A unitholder who is not treated as a partner in us as described above is urged to consult its own tax advisors with respect to the tax consequences applicable to such unitholder under its particular circumstances.

Flow-Through of Taxable Income

Subject to the discussion below under “—Entity-Level Collections of Unitholder Taxes” and “—Administrative Matters—Information Returns and Audit Procedures”, and assuming, our general partner does not make an election for us to be taxed as a corporation as a result of a change in tax law, with respect to payments we may be required to make on behalf of our unitholders, we will not pay any federal income tax. Rather, each unitholder will be required to report on its federal income tax return each year its share of our income, gains, losses and deductions for our taxable year or years ending with or within its taxable year. Consequently, we may allocate income to a unitholder even if that unitholder has not received a cash distribution.

Basis of Units

A unitholder’s tax basis in its units initially will be the amount paid for those units increased by the unitholder’s initial allocable share of our liabilities. That basis generally will be (i) increased by the unitholder’s share of our income and any increases in such unitholder’s share of our liabilities, and (ii) decreased, but not below zero, by the amount of all distributions to the unitholder, the unitholder’s share of our losses, any decreases in its share of our liabilities, and the amount of any excess business interest allocated to the unitholder. The IRS has ruled that a partner who acquires interests in a partnership in separate transactions must combine those interests and maintain a single adjusted tax basis for all of those interests.

Treatment of Distributions

Distributions made by us to a unitholder generally will not be taxable to the unitholder, unless such distributions are of cash or marketable securities that are treated as cash and exceed the unitholder’s tax basis in its units, in which case the unitholder generally will recognize gain taxable in the manner described below under “—Disposition of Units.”

Any reduction in a unitholder’s share of our “nonrecourse liabilities” (liabilities for which no partner bears the economic risk of loss) will be treated as a distribution by us of cash to that unitholder. A decrease in a unitholder’s percentage interest in us because of our issuance of additional units may decrease such unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities. For purposes of the foregoing, a unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities generally will be based upon such unitholder’s share of the unrealized appreciation (or depreciation) in our assets, to the extent thereof, with any excess nonrecourse liabilities allocated based on the unitholder’s share of our profits. Please read “—Disposition of Units.”

 

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A non-pro rata distribution of money or property (including a deemed distribution as a result of the reallocation of our nonrecourse liabilities described above) may cause a unitholder to recognize ordinary income if the distribution reduces the unitholder’s share of our “unrealized receivables,” including depreciation recapture and substantially appreciated “inventory items,” both as defined in Section 751 of the Code (“Section 751 Assets”). To the extent of such reduction, the unitholder would be deemed to receive its proportionate share of the Section 751 Assets and exchange such assets with us in return for a portion of the non-pro rata distribution. This deemed exchange will generally result in the unitholder’s recognition of ordinary income in an amount equal to the excess of (1) the non-pro rata portion of that distribution over (2) the unitholder’s tax basis (typically zero) in the Section 751 Assets deemed to be relinquished in the exchange.

Limitations on Deductibility of Losses

A unitholder may not be entitled to deduct the full amount of loss we allocate to it because its share of our losses will be limited to the lesser of (i) the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis in its units, and (ii) in the case of a unitholder that is an individual, estate, trust or certain types of closely-held corporations, the amount for which the unitholder is considered to be “at risk” with respect to our activities. A unitholder will be at risk to the extent of its adjusted tax basis in its units, reduced by (1) any portion of that basis attributable to the unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities, (2) any portion of that basis representing amounts otherwise protected against loss because of a guarantee, stop loss agreement or similar arrangement, and (3) any amount of money the unitholder borrows to acquire or hold its units, if the lender of those borrowed funds owns an interest in us, is related to another unitholder or can look only to the units for repayment. A unitholder subject to the at risk limitation must recapture losses deducted in previous years to the extent that distributions (including distributions deemed to result from a reduction in a unitholder’s share of nonrecourse liabilities) cause the unitholder’s at risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year.

Losses disallowed to a unitholder or recaptured as a result of the basis or at risk limitations will carry forward and will be allowable as a deduction in a later year to the extent that the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis or at risk amount, whichever is the limiting factor, is subsequently increased. Upon a taxable disposition of our units, any gain recognized by a unitholder can be offset by losses that were previously suspended by the at risk limitation but not losses suspended by the basis limitation. Any loss previously suspended by the at risk limitation in excess of that gain can no longer be used, and will not be available to offset a unitholder’s salary or active business income.

In addition to the basis and at risk limitations, a passive activity loss limitation limits the deductibility of losses incurred by individuals, estates, trusts, some closely-held corporations and personal service corporations from “passive activities” (such as, trade or business activities in which the taxpayer does not materially participate). The passive loss limitations are applied separately with respect to each publicly-traded partnership. Consequently, any passive losses we generate will be available to offset only passive income generated by us. Passive losses that exceed a unitholder’s share of the passive income we generate may be deducted in full when a unitholder disposes of all of its units in a fully taxable transaction with an unrelated party. The passive activity loss rules are applied after other applicable limitations on deductions, including the at risk and basis limitations.

For taxpayers other than corporations in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, an “excess business loss” limitation further limits the deductibility of losses by such taxpayers. An excess business loss is the excess (if any) of a taxpayer’s aggregate deductions for the taxable year that are attributable to the trades or businesses of such taxpayer (determined without regard to the excess business loss limitation) over the aggregate gross income or gain of such taxpayer for the taxable year that is attributable to such trades or businesses plus a threshold amount. The threshold amount is equal to $250,000 or $500,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return. Disallowed excess business losses are treated as a net operating loss carryover to the following tax year. Any losses we generate that are allocated to a unitholder and not otherwise limited by the basis, at risk, or passive loss limitations will be included in the determination of such unitholder’s aggregate trade or business deductions. Consequently, any losses we generate that are not otherwise limited will only be

 

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available to offset a unitholder’s other trade or business income plus an amount of non-trade or business income equal to the applicable threshold amount. Thus, except to the extent of the threshold amount, our losses that are not otherwise limited may not offset a unitholder’s non-trade or business income (such as salaries, fees, interest, dividends and capital gains). This excess business loss limitation will be applied after the passive activity loss limitation.

Limitations on Interest Deductions

In general, we are entitled to a deduction for interest paid or accrued on indebtedness properly allocable to our trade or business during our taxable year. However, our deduction for this “business interest” is limited to the sum of our business interest income and 30% of our “adjusted taxable income.” For the purposes of this limitation, our adjusted taxable income is computed without regard to any business interest or business interest income, and in the case of taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, any deduction allowable for depreciation, amortization, or depletion. This limitation is first applied at the partnership level and any deduction for business interest is taken into account in determining our non-separately stated taxable income or loss. Then, in applying this business interest limitation at the partner level, the adjusted taxable income of each of our unitholders is determined without regard to such unitholder’s distributive share of any of our items of income, gain, deduction, or loss and is increased by such unitholder’s distributive share of our excess taxable income, which is generally equal to the excess of 30% of our adjusted taxable income over the amount of our deduction for business interest for a taxable year.

To the extent our deduction for business interest is not limited, we will allocate the full amount of our deduction for business interest among our unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. To the extent our deduction for business interest is limited, the amount of any disallowed deduction for business interest will also be allocated to each unitholder in accordance with their percentage interest in us, but such amount of “excess business interest” will not be currently deductible. Subject to certain limitations and adjustments to a unitholder’s basis in its units, this excess business interest may be carried forward and deducted by a unitholder in a future taxable year.

In addition to this limitation on the deductibility of a partnership’s business interest, the deductibility of a non-corporate taxpayer’s “investment interest expense” is generally limited to the amount of that taxpayer’s “net investment income.” Investment interest expense includes:

 

    interest on indebtedness allocable to property held for investment;

 

    interest expense allocated against portfolio income; and

 

    the portion of interest expense incurred to purchase or carry an interest in a passive activity to the extent allocable against portfolio income.

The computation of a unitholder’s investment interest expense will take into account interest on any margin account borrowing or other loan incurred to purchase or carry a unit. Net investment income includes gross income from property held for investment and amounts treated as portfolio income under the passive loss rules, less deductible expenses, other than interest, directly connected with the production of investment income. Net investment income does not include qualified dividend income (if applicable) or gains attributable to the disposition of property held for investment. A unitholder’s share of a publicly-traded partnership’s portfolio income and, according to the IRS, net passive income will be treated as investment income for purposes of the investment interest expense limitation.

Entity-Level Collections of Unitholder Taxes

If we are required or elect under applicable law to pay any federal, state, local or non-U.S. tax on behalf of any current or former unitholder or our general partner, our partnership agreement authorizes us to treat the

 

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payment as a distribution of cash to the relevant unitholder or general partner. Where the tax is payable on behalf of all unitholders or we cannot determine the specific unitholder on whose behalf the tax is payable, our partnership agreement authorizes us to treat the payment as a distribution to all current unitholders. We are authorized to amend our partnership agreement in the manner necessary to maintain uniformity of intrinsic tax characteristics of units and to adjust later distributions, so that after giving effect to these distributions, the priority and characterization of distributions otherwise applicable under our partnership agreement is maintained as nearly as is practicable. Payments by us as described above could give rise to an overpayment of tax on behalf of a unitholder, in which event the unitholder may be entitled to claim a refund of the overpayment amount. Please read “—Administrative Matters—Information Returns and Audit Procedures”. Each unitholder is urged to consult its tax advisor to determine the consequences to them of any tax payment we make on its behalf.

Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction

Except as described below, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated among our unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. At any time that distributions are made on our common units in excess of distributions on our subordinated units, or we make incentive distributions, gross income will be allocated to the recipients to the extent of these distributions.

Specified items of our income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated under Section 704(c) of the Code (or the principles of Section 704(c) of the Code) to account for any difference between the adjusted tax basis and fair market value of our assets at the time such assets are contributed to us, at the time of any subsequent offering of our units, and upon the exercise of noncompensatory options for purchasing our units (a “Book-Tax Disparity”). As a result, the federal income tax burden associated with any Book-Tax Disparity immediately prior to an offering will be borne by our partners holding interests in us prior to such offering. In addition, items of recapture income will be specially allocated to the extent possible (subject to the limitations described above) to the unitholder who was allocated the deduction giving rise to that recapture income in order to minimize the recognition of ordinary income by other unitholders.

Treasury Regulations provide specific capital account maintenance rules applicable to the issuance, ownership and exercise of noncompensatory options that we have adopted to account for the Warrants to purchase our common units. Although we believe they are the most appropriate method to account for the Warrants, the Warrants do not satisfy the Treasury Regulation safeharbors, and for that and other reasons Vinson & Elkins is unable to opine that the Warrants for purchase of our common units are properly treated as noncompensatory options under applicable Treasury Regulations.

An allocation of items of our income, gain, loss or deduction, other than an allocation required by the Code to eliminate a Book-Tax Disparity, will be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a unitholder’s share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction only if the allocation has “substantial economic effect.” In any other case, a unitholder’s share of an item will be determined on the basis of the unitholder’s interest in us, which will be determined by taking into account all the facts and circumstances, including:

 

  (i) the unitholder’s relative contributions to us,

 

  (ii) the interests of all the partners in profits and losses,

 

  (iii) the interest of all the partners in cash flow and

 

  (iv) the rights of all the partners to distributions of capital upon liquidation.

While we believe that the allocations under our partnership agreement will be respected, due to the uncertainty regarding the applicability of the noncompensatory option treatment to the Warrants for purchase of our common units and the issues described in “—Section 754 Election” and “—Disposition of Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees,” Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is unable to opine that the

 

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allocations of income, gain, loss or deduction under our partnership agreement will be given effect for federal income tax purposes.

Treatment of Securities Loans

A unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan (for example, a loan to a “short seller” to cover a short sale of units) may be treated as having disposed of those units. If so, such unitholder would no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan and may recognize gain or loss as a result of such deemed disposition. As a result, during this period (i) any of our income, gain, loss or deduction allocated to those units would not be reportable by the lending unitholder, and (ii) any cash distributions received by the lending unitholder as to those units may be treated as ordinary taxable income.

Due to a lack of controlling authority, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has not rendered an opinion regarding the tax treatment of a unitholder that enters into a securities loan with respect to its units. A unitholder desiring to assure its status as partners and avoid the risk of income recognition from a loan of its units is urged to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit its brokers from borrowing and lending its units. The IRS has announced that it is studying issues relating to the tax treatment of short sales of partnership interests. Please read “—Disposition of Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

Tax Rates

Under current law, the highest marginal federal income tax rates for individuals applicable to ordinary income and long-term capital gains (generally, gains from the sale or exchange of certain investment assets held for more than one year) are 37% and 20%, respectively. These rates are subject to change by new legislation at any time.

In addition, a 3.8% net investment income tax applies to certain net investment income earned by individuals, estates, and trusts. For these purposes, net investment income generally includes a unitholder’s allocable share of our income and gain realized by a unitholder from a sale of units. In the case of an individual, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) the unitholder’s net investment income from all investments, or (ii) the amount by which the unitholder’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 (if the unitholder is married and filing jointly or a surviving spouse), $125,000 (if married filing separately) or $200,000 (if the unitholder is unmarried or in any other case). In the case of an estate or trust, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) undistributed net investment income, or (ii) the excess adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins.

For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and ending on or before December 31, 2025, an individual unitholder is entitled to a deduction equal to 20% of his or her allocable share of our “qualified business income.” For purposes of this deduction, our “qualified business income” is equal to the sum of:

 

    the net amount of our U.S. items of income, gain, deduction, and loss to the extent such items are included or allowed in the determination of taxable income for the year, excluding, however, certain specified types of passive investment income (such as capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a rate of 20%) and certain payments made to the unitholder for services rendered to the Partnership; and

 

    any gain recognized upon a disposition of our units to the extent such gain is attributable to Section 751 Assets, such as depreciation recapture and our “inventory items,” and is thus treated as ordinary income under Section 751 of the Code.

Section 754 Election

We have made the election permitted by Section 754 of the Code that permits us to adjust the tax basis in each of our assets as to specific purchasers of our units under Section 743(b) of the Code to reflect the unit

 

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purchase price upon subsequent purchases of units. That election is irrevocable without the consent of the IRS. The Section 743(b) adjustment separately applies to a unitholder who purchases units from another unitholder based upon the values and adjusted tax basis of each of our assets at the time of the relevant purchase, and the adjustment will reflect the purchase price paid. The Section 743(b) adjustment does not apply to a person who purchases units directly from us. For purposes of this discussion, a unitholder’s basis in our assets will be considered to have two components: (1) its share of the tax basis in our assets as to all unitholders and (2) its Section 743(b) adjustment to that tax basis (which may be positive or negative).

Under our partnership agreement, we are authorized to take a position to preserve the uniformity of units even if that position is not consistent with applicable Treasury Regulations. A literal application of Treasury Regulations governing a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to properties depreciable under Section 167 of the Code may give rise to differences in the taxation of unitholders purchasing units from us and unitholders purchasing from other unitholders. If we have any such properties, we intend to adopt methods employed by other publicly traded partnerships to preserve the uniformity of units, even if inconsistent with existing Treasury Regulations, and Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has not opined on the validity of this approach. Please read “—Uniformity of Units.”

The IRS may challenge the positions we adopt with respect to depreciating or amortizing the Section 743(b) adjustment to preserve the uniformity of units due to the lack of controlling authority. Because a unitholder’s adjusted tax basis for its units is reduced by its share of our items of deduction or loss, any position we take that understates deductions will overstate a unitholder’s basis in its units, and may cause the unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such units. Please read “—Disposition of Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.” If a challenge to such treatment were sustained, the gain from the sale of units may be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.

The calculations involved in the Section 754 election are complex and are made on the basis of assumptions as to the value of our assets and other matters. The IRS could seek to reallocate some or all of any Section 743(b) adjustment we allocated to our depreciable assets to goodwill or nondepreciable assets. Goodwill, as an intangible asset, is generally amortizable over a longer period of time or under a less accelerated method than certain of our tangible assets. We cannot assure any unitholder that the determinations we make will not be successfully challenged by the IRS or that the resulting deductions will not be reduced or disallowed altogether. Should the IRS require a different tax basis adjustment to be made, and should, in our opinion, the expense of compliance exceed the benefit of the election, we may seek permission from the IRS to revoke our Section 754 election. If permission is granted, a subsequent purchaser of units may be allocated more income than it would have been allocated had the election not been revoked.

Tax Treatment of Operations

Accounting Method and Taxable Year

We will use the year ending December 31 as our taxable year and the accrual method of accounting for federal income tax purposes. Each unitholder will be required to include in its tax return its share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for each taxable year ending within or with its taxable year. In addition, a unitholder who has a taxable year ending on a date other than December 31 and who disposes of all of its units following the close of our taxable year but before the close of its taxable year must include its share of our income, gain, loss and deduction in income for its taxable year, with the result that it will be required to include in income for its taxable year its share of more than twelve months of our income, gain, loss and deduction. Please read “—Disposition of Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees.”

Tax Basis, Depreciation and Amortization

The tax basis of each of our assets will be used for purposes of computing depreciation and cost recovery deductions and, ultimately, gain or loss on the disposition of these assets. If we dispose of depreciable property

 

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by sale, foreclosure or otherwise, all or a portion of any gain, determined by reference to the amount of depreciation and deductions previously taken, may be subject to the recapture rules and taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gain. Similarly, a unitholder who has taken cost recovery or depreciation deductions with respect to property we own will likely be required to recapture some or all of those deductions as ordinary income upon a sale of its interest in us. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction” and “—Disposition of Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

The costs we incur in offering and selling our units (called “syndication expenses”) must be capitalized and cannot be deducted currently, ratably or upon our termination. While there are uncertainties regarding the classification of certain costs as organization expenses, which may be amortized by us, and as syndication expenses, which may not be amortized by us, the underwriting discounts and commissions we incur will be treated as syndication expenses. Please read “Disposition of Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

We are allowed a first-year bonus depreciation deduction equal to 100% of the adjusted basis of certain depreciable property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023. For property placed in service during subsequent years, the deduction is phased down by 20% per year until December 31, 2026. This depreciation deduction applies to both new and used property. However, use of the deduction with respect to used property is subject to certain anti-abuse restrictions, including the requirement that the property be acquired from an unrelated party. We can elect to forgo the depreciation bonus and use the alternative depreciation system for any class of property for a taxable year. Under a transition rule, we can also elect to apply a 50% bonus depreciation deduction instead of the 100% deduction for our first taxable year ending after September 27, 2017.

Mineral and Royalty Taxation

In general. Our royalties from coal leases generally will be treated as proceeds from sales of coal to which Section 631 of the Code applies. Accordingly, the difference between the royalties paid to us by the lessees and the adjusted depletion basis in the extracted coal generally will be treated as gain from the sale of property used in a trade or business, which may be treated as capital gain under Section 1231 of the Code. Please see “—Sales of Coal Reserves.” Our royalties that do not qualify under Section 631(c) of the Code, including royalties from aggregates reserves, generally will be taxable as ordinary income in the year of sale.

Coal Income. Section 631 of the Code provides special rules by which gains or losses on the sale of coal may be treated, in whole or in part, as gains or losses from the sale of property used in a trade or business under Section 1231 of the Code. Specifically, Section 631(c) of the Code provides that if the owner of coal held for more than one year disposes of that coal under a contract by virtue of which the owner retains an economic interest in the coal, the gain or loss realized will be treated under Section 1231 of the Code as gain or loss from property used in a trade or business. Section 1231 of gains and losses may be treated as capital gains and losses. Please see “—Sales of Coal Reserves.” In computing such gain or loss, the amount realized is reduced by the adjusted depletion basis in the coal, determined as described in “—Coal Depletion.” For purposes of Section 631(c) of the Code, the coal generally is deemed to be disposed of on the day on which the coal is mined. Further, Treasury Regulations promulgated under Section 631 of the Code provide that advance royalty payments may also be treated as proceeds from sales of coal to which Section 631 applies and, therefore, such payment may be treated as capital gain under Section 1231 of the Code. However, if the right to mine the related coal expires or terminates under the contract that provides for the payment of advance royalty payments or such right is abandoned before the coal has been mined, we may, pursuant to the Treasury Regulations, file an amended return that reflects the payments attributable to unmined coal as ordinary income and not as received from the sale of coal under Section 631 of the Code.

Coal Depletion

In general, we are entitled to depletion deductions with respect to coal mined from the underlying mineral property. Subject to the limitations on the deductibility of losses discussed above, we generally are entitled to the

 

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greater of cost depletion limited to the basis of the property or percentage depletion. The percentage depletion rate for coal is 10%. If Section 631(c) of the Code applies to the disposition of the coal, however, we are not eligible for percentage depletion. Please see “—Coal Income.”

Depletion deductions we claim generally will reduce the tax basis of the underlying mineral property. Depletion deductions can, however, exceed the total tax basis of the mineral property. The excess of our percentage depletion deductions over the adjusted tax basis of the property at the end of the taxable year is subject to tax preference treatment in computing the alternative minimum tax, the consequences of which are not addressed herein. In addition, a corporate unitholder’s allocable share of the amount allowable as a percentage depletion deduction for any property will be reduced by 20% of the excess, if any, of that partner’s allocable share of the amount of the percentage depletion deductions for the taxable year over the adjusted tax basis of the mineral property as of the close of the taxable year.

Mining Exploration and Development Expenditures

We will elect to currently deduct mining exploration expenditures that we pay or incur to determine the existence, location, extent or quality of coal deposits prior to the time the existence of coal in commercially marketable quantities has been disclosed.

Amounts we deduct for mine exploration expenditures must be recaptured and included in our taxable income at the time a mine reaches the production stage, unless we elect to reduce future depletion deductions by the amount of the recapture. A mine reaches the producing stage when the major part of the coal production is obtained from working mines other than those opened for the purpose of development or the principal activity of the mine is the production of developed coal rather than the development of additional coal for mining. This recapture is accomplished through the disallowance of both cost and percentage depletion deductions on the particular mine reaching the production stage. This disallowance of depletion deductions continues until the amount of adjusted exploration expenditures with respect to the mine has been fully recaptured. This recapture is not applied to the full amount of the previously deducted exploration expenditures. Instead, these expenditures are reduced by the amount of percentage depletion, if any, that was lost as a result of deducting these exploration expenditures.

Mine development costs incurred during the development phase are capitalized and revenue from the incidental sale of coal while a mine is in the development phase is recorded as a reduction of the related mine development costs.

Mine exploration and development expenditures are subject to recapture as ordinary income to the extent of any gain upon a sale or other disposition of our property or of your common units. Please read “—Disposition of Units.” Corporate unitholders are subject to an additional rule that requires them to capitalize a portion of their otherwise deductible mine exploration and development expenditures. Corporate unitholders, other than some S corporations, are required to reduce their otherwise deductible exploration expenditures by 30%. These capitalized mine exploration and development expenditures must be amortized over a 60-month period, beginning in the month paid or incurred, using a straight-line method and may not be treated as part of the basis of the property for the purposes of computing depletion.

Sales of Coal Reserves

If any coal reserves are sold or otherwise disposed of in a taxable transaction, we will recognize (and allocate to our unitholders) any gain or loss measured by the difference between the amount realized (including the amount of any indebtedness assumed by the purchaser upon such disposition or to which such property is subject) and the adjusted tax basis of the property sold. Generally, the character of any gain or loss recognized upon that disposition will depend upon whether our coal reserves or the mined coal sold are held by us:

 

    for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business (i.e. we are a “dealer” with respect to that property);

 

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    for use in a trade or business within the meaning of Section 1231 of the Code; or

 

    as a capital asset within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code.

In determining dealer status with respect to coal reserves and other types of real estate, the courts have identified a number of factors for distinguishing between a particular property held for sale in the ordinary course of business and one held for investment. Any determination must be based on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular property and sale in question.

We intend to hold our coal reserves for use in a trade or business and to achieve long-term capital appreciation. Although our general partner may consider strategic sales of coal reserves consistent with achieving long-term capital appreciation, our general partner does not anticipate frequent sales of coal reserves, nor significant marketing, improvement or subdivision activity in connection with any strategic sales. Thus, the general partner does not believe we will be viewed as a dealer. In light of the factual nature of this question, however, there is no assurance that our purposes for holding our properties will not change and that our future activities will not cause us to be a “dealer” in coal reserves.

If we are not a dealer with respect to our coal reserves and we have held the disposed property for more than a one-year period primarily for use in our trade or business, the character of any gain or loss realized from a disposition of the property will be determined under Section 1231 of the Code. If we have not held the property for more than one year at the time of the sale, gain or loss from the sale will be taxable as ordinary income.

A unitholder’s distributive share of any Section 1231 gain or loss generated by us will be aggregated with any other gains and losses realized by that unitholder from the disposition of property used in the trade or business, as defined in Section 1231(b) of the Code, and from the involuntary conversion of such properties and of capital assets held in connection with a trade or business or a transaction entered into for profit for the requisite holding period. If a net gain results, all such gains and losses will be long-term capital gains and losses; if a net loss results, all such gains and losses will be ordinary income and losses. Net Section 1231 gains will be treated as ordinary income to the extent of prior net Section 1231 losses of the taxpayer or predecessor taxpayer for the five most recent prior taxable years to the extent such losses have not previously been offset against Section 1231 gains. Losses are deemed recaptured in the chronological order in which they arose.

If we are not a dealer with respect to our coal reserves and that property is not used in a trade or business, the property will be a “capital asset” within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code. Gain or loss recognized from the disposition of that property will be taxable as capital gain or loss, and the character of such capital gain or loss as long-term or short-term will be based upon our holding period of such property at the time of its sale. The requisite holding period for long-term capital gain is more than one year.

Upon a disposition of coal reserves, a portion of the gain, if any, equal to the lesser of (1) the depletion deductions that reduced the tax basis of the disposed mineral property plus deductible development and mining exploration expenses or (2) the amount of gain recognized on the disposition, will be treated as ordinary income to us.

Valuation and Tax Basis of Each of Our Properties

The federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of units will depend in part on our estimates of the relative fair market values and the tax basis of each of our assets. Although we may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we will make many of the relative fair market value estimates ourselves. These estimates and determinations of tax basis are subject to challenge and will not be binding on the IRS or the courts. If the estimates of fair market value or tax basis are later found to be incorrect, the character and amount of items of income, gain, loss or deduction previously reported by a unitholder could change, and such unitholder could be required to adjust its tax liability for prior years and incur interest and penalties with respect to those adjustments.

 

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Disposition of Units

Recognition of Gain or Loss

A unitholder will be required to recognize gain or loss on a sale or exchange of a unit equal to the difference, if any, between the unitholder’s amount realized and the adjusted tax basis in the unit sold. A unitholder’s amount realized generally will equal the sum of the cash and the fair market value of other property it receives plus its share of our nonrecourse liabilities with respect to the unit sold or exchanged. Because the amount realized includes a unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities, the gain recognized on the sale or exchange of a unit could result in a tax liability in excess of any cash received from such sale or exchange.

Except as noted below, gain or loss recognized by a unitholder on the sale or exchange of a unit held for more than one year generally will be taxable as long-term capital gain or loss. However, gain or loss recognized on the disposition of units will be separately computed and taxed as ordinary income or loss under Section 751 of the Code to the extent attributable to Section 751 Assets, such as depreciation recapture and our “inventory items,” regardless of whether such inventory item has substantially appreciated in value. Ordinary income attributable to Section 751 Assets may exceed net taxable gain realized on the sale or exchange of a unit and may be recognized even if there is a net taxable loss realized on the sale or exchange of a unit. Thus, a unitholder may recognize both ordinary income and capital gain or loss upon a sale or exchange of a unit. Net capital loss may offset capital gains and, in the case of individuals, up to $3,000 of ordinary income per year.

For purposes of calculating gain or loss on the sale or exchange of a unit, the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis will be adjusted by its allocable share of our income or loss in respect of its unit for the year of the sale. Furthermore, as described above, the IRS has ruled that a partner who acquires interests in a partnership in separate transactions must combine those interests and maintain a single adjusted tax basis for all those interests. Upon a sale or other disposition of less than all of those interests, a portion of that tax basis must be allocated to the interests sold using an “equitable apportionment” method, which generally means that the tax basis allocated to the interest sold equals an amount that bears the same relation to the partner’s tax basis in its entire interest in the partnership as the value of the interest sold bears to the value of the partner’s entire interest in the partnership.

Treasury Regulations under Section 1223 of the Code allow a selling unitholder who can identify units transferred with an ascertainable holding period to elect to use the actual holding period of the units transferred. Thus, according to the ruling discussed in the paragraph above, a unitholder will be unable to select high or low basis units to sell or exchange as would be the case with corporate stock, but, according to the Treasury Regulations, such unitholder may designate specific units sold for purposes of determining the holding period of the units transferred. A unitholder electing to use the actual holding period of any unit transferred must consistently use that identification method for all subsequent sales or exchanges of our units. A unitholder considering the purchase of additional units or a sale or exchange of units purchased in separate transactions is urged to consult its tax advisor as to the possible consequences of this ruling and application of the Treasury Regulations.

Specific provisions of the Code affect the taxation of some financial products and securities, including partnership interests, by treating a taxpayer as having sold an “appreciated” financial position, including a partnership interest with respect to which gain would be recognized if it were sold, assigned or terminated at its fair market value, in the event the taxpayer or a related person enters into:

 

    a short sale;

 

    an offsetting notional principal contract; or

 

    a futures or forward contract with respect to the partnership interest or substantially identical property.

Moreover, if a taxpayer has previously entered into a short sale, an offsetting notional principal contract or a futures or forward contract with respect to the partnership interest, the taxpayer will be treated as having sold that

 

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position if the taxpayer or a related person then acquires the partnership interest or substantially identical property. The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to issue Treasury Regulations that treat a taxpayer that enters into transactions or positions that have substantially the same effect as the preceding transactions as having constructively sold the financial position. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Treatment of Securities Loans.”

Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees

In general, our taxable income or loss will be determined annually, will be prorated on a monthly basis and will be subsequently apportioned among the unitholders in proportion to the number of units owned by each of them as of the opening of the applicable exchange on the first business day of the month (the “Allocation Date”). Nevertheless, we allocate certain deductions for depreciation of capital additions based upon the date the underlying property is placed in service, and gain or loss realized on a sale or other disposition of our assets or, in the discretion of the general partner, any other extraordinary item of income, gain, loss or deduction will be allocated among the unitholders on the Allocation Date in the month in which such income, gain, loss or deduction is recognized. As a result, a unitholder transferring units may be allocated income, gain, loss and deduction realized after the date of transfer.

Although simplifying conventions are contemplated by the Code and most publicly traded partnerships use similar simplifying conventions, existing Treasury Regulations do not specifically authorize the use of the proration method we have adopted. Accordingly, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is unable to opine on the validity of this method of allocating income and deductions between transferee and transferor unitholders. If the IRS determines that this method is not allowed under the Treasury Regulations our taxable income or losses could be reallocated among our unitholders. Under our partnership agreement, we are authorized to revise our method of allocation between transferee and transferor unitholders, as well as among unitholders whose interests vary during a taxable year, to conform to a method permitted under the Treasury Regulations.

A unitholder who disposes of units prior to the record date set for a cash distribution for that quarter will be allocated items of our income, gain, loss and deduction attributable to the month of disposition but will not be entitled to receive a cash distribution for that period.

Notification Requirements

A unitholder who sells or exchanges any of its units is generally required to notify us in writing of that transaction within 30 days after the transaction (or, if earlier, January 15 of the year following the transaction in the case of a seller). Upon receiving such notifications, we are required to notify the IRS of the transaction and to furnish specified information to the transferor and transferee. Failure to notify us of a transfer of units may, in some cases, lead to the imposition of penalties. However, these reporting requirements do not apply to a sale by an individual who is a citizen of the United States and who effects the sale or exchange through a broker who will satisfy such requirements.

Uniformity of Units

Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of units and for other reasons, we must maintain uniformity of the economic and tax characteristics of the units to a purchaser of these units. As a result of the need to preserve uniformity, we may be unable to completely comply with a number of federal income tax requirements. Any non-uniformity could have a negative impact on the value of our units. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election.”

Our partnership agreement permits our general partner to take positions in filing our tax returns that preserve the uniformity of our units. These positions may include reducing the depreciation, amortization or loss deductions to which a unitholder would otherwise be entitled or reporting a slower amortization of Section 743(b) adjustments for some unitholders than that to which they would otherwise be entitled. Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is unable to opine as to the validity of such filing positions.

 

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A unitholder’s adjusted tax basis in units is reduced by its share of our deductions (whether or not such deductions were claimed on an individual income tax return) so that any position that we take that understates deductions will overstate the unitholder’s basis in its units, and may cause the unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such units. Please read “—Disposition of Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss” and “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election” above. The IRS may challenge one or more of any positions we take to preserve the uniformity of our units. If such a challenge were sustained, the uniformity of units might be affected, and, under some circumstances, the gain from any sale of our units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.

Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors

Ownership of our units by employee benefit plans and other tax-exempt organizations, as well as by non-resident alien individuals, non-U.S. corporations and other non-U.S. persons (collectively, “Non-U.S. Unitholders”) raises issues unique to those investors and, as described below, may have substantially adverse tax consequences to them. Each prospective unitholder that is a tax-exempt entity or a Non-U.S. Unitholder should consult its tax advisors before investing in our units.

Employee benefit plans and most other tax-exempt organizations, including IRAs and other retirement plans, are subject to federal income tax on unrelated business taxable income. Virtually all of our income will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to a tax-exempt unitholder.

Non-U.S. Unitholders are taxed by the United States on income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (“effectively connected income”) and on certain types of U.S.-source non-effectively connected income (such as dividends), unless exempted or further limited by an income tax treaty. Each Non-U.S. Unitholder will be considered to be engaged in business in the United States because of its ownership of our units. Furthermore, it is probable that Non-U.S. Unitholders will be deemed to conduct such activities through a permanent establishment in the United States within the meaning of an applicable tax treaty. Consequently, each Non-U.S. Unitholder will be required to file federal tax returns to report its share of our income, gain, loss or deduction and pay federal income tax on its share of our net income or gain. Moreover, under rules applicable to publicly-traded partnerships, distributions to Non-U.S. Unitholders are subject to withholding at the highest applicable effective tax rate. Each Non-U.S. Unitholder must obtain a taxpayer identification number from the IRS and submit that number to our transfer agent on a Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E (or other applicable or successor form) in order to obtain credit for these withholding taxes.

In addition, if a Non-U.S. Unitholder is classified as a non-U.S. corporation, it will be treated as engaged in a United States trade or business and may be subject to the U.S. branch profits tax at a rate of 30%, in addition to regular U.S. federal income tax, on its share of our income and gain as adjusted for changes in the foreign corporation’s “U.S. net equity” to the extent reflected in the corporation’s earnings and profits. That tax may be reduced or eliminated by an income tax treaty between the United States and the country in which the foreign corporate unitholder is a “qualified resident.” In addition, this type of unitholder is subject to special information reporting requirements under Section 6038C of the Code.

A Non-U.S. Unitholder who sells or otherwise disposes of a unit will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain realized from the sale or disposition of that unit to the extent the gain is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Non-U.S. Unitholder. Gain realized by a Non-U.S. Unitholder from the sale of its interest in a partnership that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States will be considered to be “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business to the extent that gain that would be recognized upon a sale by the partnership of all of its assets would be “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business. Thus, all of a Non-U.S. Unitholder’s gain from the sale or other disposition of our units would be treated as effectively connected with a unitholder’s indirect U.S. trade or business constituted by its investment in us and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax. As a result of the effectively connected income rules described above, the exclusion from U.S. taxation under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act for gain from the sale of partnership units

 

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regularly traded on an established securities market will not prevent a Non-U.S. Unitholder from being subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain from the sale or disposition of its units.

Moreover, under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, as long as our partnership units continue to be regularly traded on an established securities market, a Non-U.S. Unitholder generally will only be subject to federal income tax upon the sale or disposition of a unit if at any time during the shorter of the five-year period ending on the date of the disposition or the Non-U.S. Unitholder’s holding period for the unit (i) such Non-U.S. Unitholder owned (directly, indirectly or constructively applying certain attribution rules) more than 5% of our units and (ii) 50% or more of the fair market value of our real property interests and other assets used or held for use in a trade or business consisted of U.S. real property interests (which include U.S. real estate, including land, improvements and associated personal property, and interests in certain entities holding U.S. real estate). If our units were not considered to be regularly traded on an established securities market, such Non-U.S. Unitholder (regardless of the percentage of units owned) would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a taxable disposition of our units, and a 15% withholding tax would apply to the gross proceeds from such disposition (as described in the preceding paragraph). More than 50% of our assets may consist of U.S. real property interests. Therefore, each Non-U.S. Unitholder may be subject to federal income tax on gain from the sale or disposition of its units.

Administrative Matters

Information Returns and Audit Procedures

We intend to furnish to each unitholder, within 90 days after the close of each taxable year, specific tax information, including a Schedule K-1, which describes its share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our preceding taxable year. In preparing this information, which will not be reviewed by counsel, we will take various accounting and reporting positions, some of which have been mentioned earlier, to determine each unitholder’s share of income, gain, loss and deduction. We cannot assure our unitholders that those positions will yield a result that conforms to all of the requirements of the Code, Treasury Regulations or administrative interpretations of the IRS.

The IRS may audit our federal income tax information returns. Neither we nor Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. can assure prospective unitholders that the IRS will not successfully challenge the positions we adopt, and such a challenge could adversely affect the value of our units. Adjustments resulting from an IRS audit may require each unitholder to adjust a prior year’s tax liability, and may result in an audit of the unitholder’s own return. Any audit of a unitholder’s return could result in adjustments unrelated to our returns.

Publicly-traded partnerships are treated as entities separate from their owners for purposes of federal income tax audits, judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS and tax settlement proceedings. The tax treatment of partnership items of income, gain, loss and deduction are determined in a partnership proceeding rather than in separate proceedings for each of the partners. For taxable years beginning prior to January 1, 2018, the Code requires that one partner be designated as the “Tax Matters Partner” for these purposes, and our partnership agreement designates our general partner as our Tax Matters Partner.

The Tax Matters Partner can extend the statute of limitations for assessment of tax deficiencies against unitholders for items in our tax returns. The Tax Matters Partner may bind a unitholder with less than a 1% profits interest in us to a settlement with the IRS unless that unitholder elects, by filing a statement with the IRS, not to give that authority to the Tax Matters Partner. The Tax Matters Partner may seek judicial review, by which all the unitholders are bound, of a final partnership administrative adjustment and, if the Tax Matters Partner fails to seek judicial review, judicial review may be sought by any unitholder having at least a 1% interest in profits or by any group of unitholders having in the aggregate at least a 5% interest in profits. However, only one action for judicial review may go forward, and each unitholder with an interest in the outcome may participate in that action.

 

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A unitholder must file a statement with the IRS identifying the treatment of any item on its federal income tax return that is not consistent with the treatment of the item on our return. Intentional or negligent disregard of this consistency requirement may subject a unitholder to substantial penalties.

Pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to our income tax returns, it may assess and collect any taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from us, unless we elect to have our general partner, unitholders and former unitholders take any audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit. Similarly, for such taxable years, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to income tax returns filed by an entity in which we are a member or partner, it may assess and collect any taxes (including penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from such entity.

Generally, we expect to elect to have our general partner, unitholders and former unitholders take any such audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit, but there can be no assurance that such election will be effective in all circumstances. With respect to audit adjustments as to an entity in which we are a member or partner, the Joint Committee of Taxation has stated that we would not be able to have our general partner, unitholders and former unitholders take such audit adjustment into account. If we are unable to have our general partner, unitholders and former unitholders take such audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit, our then current unitholders may bear some or all of the tax liability resulting from such audit adjustment, even if such unitholders did not own our units during the taxable year under audit. If, as a result of any such audit adjustment, we are required to make payments of taxes, penalties or interest, our cash available for distribution to our unitholders might be substantially reduced. These rules are not applicable for taxable years beginning on or prior to December 31, 2017. Congress has proposed changes to the Bipartisan Budget Act, and we anticipate that amendments may be made. Accordingly, the manner in which these rules may apply to us in the future is uncertain.

Additionally, pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Code will no longer require that we designate a Tax Matters Partner. Instead, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, we will be required to designate a partner, or other person, with a substantial presence in the United States as the partnership representative (“Partnership Representative”). The Partnership Representative will have the sole authority to act on our behalf for purposes of, among other things, federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS. If we do not make such a designation, the IRS can select any person as the Partnership Representative. We currently anticipate that we will designate our general partner as the Partnership Representative. Further, any actions taken by us or by the Partnership Representative on our behalf with respect to, among other things, federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS, will be binding on us and all of our unitholders.

Additional Withholding Requirements

Withholding taxes may apply to certain types of payments made to “foreign financial institutions” (as specially defined in the Code) and certain other non-U.S. entities. Specifically, a 30% withholding tax may be imposed on interest, dividends and other fixed or determinable annual or periodic gains, profits and income from sources within the United States (“FDAP Income”), or gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of any property of a type which can produce interest or dividends from sources within the United States (“Gross Proceeds”) paid to a foreign financial institution or to a “non-financial foreign entity” (as specially defined in the Code), unless (i) the foreign financial institution undertakes certain diligence and reporting, (ii) the non-financial foreign entity either certifies it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or furnishes identifying information regarding each substantial U.S. owner or (iii) the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity otherwise qualifies for an exemption from these rules. If the payee is a foreign financial institution and is subject to the diligence and reporting requirements in clause (i) above, it must enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Treasury requiring, among other things, that it undertake to identify accounts held by certain

 

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U.S. persons or U.S.-owned foreign entities, annually report certain information about such accounts, and withhold 30% on payments to noncompliant foreign financial institutions and certain other account holders. Foreign financial institutions located in jurisdictions that have an intergovernmental agreement with the United States governing these requirements may be subject to different rules.

Generally these rules apply to current payments of FDAP Income and will apply to payments of relevant Gross Proceeds made on or after January 1, 2019. Thus, to the extent we have FDAP Income or we have Gross Proceeds on or after January 1, 2019 that are not treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (please read “—Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors”), a unitholder that is a foreign financial institution or certain other non-U.S. entity, or a person that holds its units through such foreign entities, may be subject to withholding on distributions they receive from us, or its distributive share of our income, pursuant to the rules described above.

Each prospective unitholder should consult its own tax advisors regarding the potential application of these withholding provisions to its investment in our units.

Nominee Reporting

Persons who hold an interest in us as a nominee for another person are required to furnish to us:

 

    the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the beneficial owner and the nominee;

 

    a statement regarding whether the beneficial owner is:

 

    a non-U.S. person;

 

    a non-U.S. government, an international organization or any wholly-owned agency or instrumentality of either of the foregoing; or

 

    a tax-exempt entity;

 

    the amount and description of units held, acquired or transferred for the beneficial owner; and

 

    specific information including the dates of acquisitions and transfers, means of acquisitions and transfers, and acquisition cost for purchases, as well as the amount of net proceeds from sales.

Each broker and financial institution is required to furnish additional information, including whether such broker or financial institution is a U.S. person and specific information on any units such broker or financial institution acquires, holds or transfers for its own account. A penalty of $260 per failure, up to a maximum of $3,218,500 per calendar year, is imposed by the Code for failure to report that information to us. The nominee is required to supply the beneficial owner of our units with the information furnished to us.

Accuracy-Related Penalties

Certain penalties may be imposed as a result of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to one or more specified causes, including negligence or disregard of rules or regulations, substantial understatements of income tax and substantial valuation misstatements. No penalty will be imposed, however, for any portion of an underpayment if it is shown that there was a reasonable cause for the underpayment of that portion and that the taxpayer acted in good faith regarding the underpayment of that portion. We do not anticipate that any accuracy-related penalties will be assessed against us.

State, Local and Other Tax Considerations

In addition to federal income taxes, unitholders may be subject to other taxes, including state and local income taxes, unincorporated business taxes and estate, inheritance or intangibles taxes that may be imposed by

 

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the various jurisdictions in which we conduct business or own property now or in the future or in which the unitholder is a resident. We conduct business or own property in many states in the United States. Some of these states may impose an income tax on individuals, corporations and other entities. As we make acquisitions or expand our business, we may own property or conduct business in additional states that impose a personal income tax. Although an analysis of those various taxes is not presented here, each prospective unitholder should consider the potential impact of such taxes on its investment in us.

A unitholder may be required to file income tax returns and pay income taxes in some or all of the jurisdictions in which we do business or own property, though such unitholder may not be required to file a return and pay taxes in certain jurisdictions because its income from such jurisdictions falls below the jurisdiction’s filing and payment requirement. Further, a unitholder may be subject to penalties for a failure to comply with any filing or payment requirement applicable to such unitholder. Some of the jurisdictions may require us, or we may elect, to withhold a percentage of income from amounts to be distributed to a unitholder who is not a resident of the jurisdiction. Withholding, the amount of which may be greater or less than a particular unitholder’s income tax liability to the jurisdiction, generally does not relieve a nonresident unitholder from the obligation to file an income tax return.

It is the responsibility of each unitholder to investigate the legal and tax consequences, under the laws of pertinent jurisdictions, of its investment in us. We strongly recommend that each prospective unitholder consult, and depend upon, its own tax counsel or other advisor with regard to those matters. Further, it is the responsibility of each unitholder to file all state, local and non-U.S., as well as federal tax returns that may be required of it. Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has not rendered an opinion on the state, local, alternative minimum tax or non-U.S. tax consequences of an investment in us.

 

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INVESTMENT IN FORESIGHT ENERGY LP BY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS

The following is a summary of certain considerations associated with the acquisition and holding of common units by employee benefit plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA, plans, individual retirement accounts and other arrangements that are subject to Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code or employee benefit plans that are governmental plans (as defined in Section 3(32) of ERISA), certain church plans (as defined in Section 3(33) of ERISA), non-U.S. plans (as described in Section 4(b)(4) of ERISA) or other plans that are not subject to the foregoing but may be subject to provisions under any other federal, state, local, non-U.S. or other laws or regulations that are similar to such provisions of ERISA or the Internal Revenue Code (collectively, “Similar Laws”), and entities whose underlying assets are considered to include “plan assets” of any such plan, account or arrangement (each, a “Plan”).

This summary is based on the provisions of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (and related regulations and administrative and judicial interpretations) as of the date of this registration statement. This summary does not purport to be complete, and no assurance can be given that future legislation, court decisions, regulations, rulings or pronouncements will not significantly modify the requirements summarized below. Any of these changes may be retroactive and may thereby apply to transactions entered into prior to the date of their enactment or release. This discussion is general in nature and is not intended to be all inclusive, nor should it be construed as investment or legal advice.

General Fiduciary Matters

ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code impose certain duties on persons who are fiduciaries of a Plan subject to Title I of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code (an “ERISA Plan”) and prohibit certain transactions involving the assets of an ERISA Plan and its fiduciaries or other interested parties. Under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, any person who exercises any discretionary authority or control over the administration of an ERISA Plan or the management or disposition of the assets of an ERISA Plan, or who renders investment advice for a fee or other compensation to an ERISA Plan, is generally considered to be a fiduciary of the ERISA Plan.

In considering an investment in our common units with a portion of the assets of any Plan, a fiduciary should consider the Plan’s particular circumstances and all of the facts and circumstances of the investment and determine whether the acquisition and holding of our common units is in accordance with the documents and instruments governing the Plan and the applicable provisions of ERISA, the Code, or any Similar Law relating to the fiduciary’s duties to the Plan, including, without limitation:

 

    whether the investment is prudent under Section 404(a)(1)(B) of ERISA and any other applicable Similar Laws;

 

    whether, in making the investment, the ERISA Plan will satisfy the diversification requirements of Section 404(a)(1)(C) of ERISA and any other applicable Similar Laws;

 

    whether the investment is permitted under the terms of the applicable documents governing the Plan;

 

    whether the acquisition or holding of our common units stock will constitute a “prohibited transaction” under Section 406 of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code (please see the discussion under “—Prohibited Transaction Issues” below);

 

    whether the Plan will be considered to hold, as plan assets, (i) only common units or (ii) an undivided interest in our underlying assets (please see the discussion under “—Plan Asset Issues” below); and

 

    whether the investment will result in recognition of unrelated business taxable income by the Plan and, if so, the potential after tax investment return. Please read “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences—Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors.”

 

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Prohibited Transaction Issues

Section 406 of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibit ERISA Plans from engaging in specified transactions involving plan assets with persons or entities who are “parties in interest,” within the meaning of ERISA, or “disqualified persons,” within the meaning of Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code, unless an exemption is available. A party in interest or disqualified person who engages in a non-exempt prohibited transaction may be subject to excise taxes and other penalties and liabilities under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the fiduciary of the ERISA Plan that engages in such a non-exempt prohibited transaction may be subject to excise taxes, penalties and liabilities under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. The acquisition and/or holding of our common units by an ERISA Plan with respect to which the issuer, the initial purchaser, or a guarantor is considered a party in interest or a disqualified person may constitute or result in a direct or indirect prohibited transaction under Section 406 of ERISA and/or Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the investment is acquired and is held in accordance with an applicable statutory, class or individual prohibited transaction exemption.

Because of the foregoing, our common units should not be acquired or held by any person investing “plan assets” of any Plan, unless such acquisition and holding will not constitute a non-exempt prohibited transaction under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code or a similar violation of any applicable Similar Laws.

Plan Asset Issues

Additionally, a fiduciary of a Plan should consider whether the Plan will, by investing in us, be deemed to own an undivided interest in our assets, with the result that we would become a fiduciary of the Plan and our operations would be subject to the regulatory restrictions of ERISA, including its prohibited transaction rules, as well as the prohibited transaction rules of the Internal Revenue Code and any other applicable Similar Laws.

The Department of Labor (the “DOL”) regulations provide guidance with respect to whether the assets of an entity in which ERISA Plans acquire equity interests would be deemed “plan assets” under some circumstances. Under these regulations, an entity’s assets generally would not be considered to be “plan assets” if, among other things:

(a) the equity interests acquired by ERISA Plans are “publicly offered securities” (as defined in the DOL regulations)—i.e., the equity interests are part of a class of securities that is widely held by 100 or more investors independent of the issuer and each other, are freely transferable, and are either registered under certain provisions of the federal securities laws or sold to the ERISA Plan as part of a public offering under certain conditions;

(b) the entity is an “operating company” (as defined in the DOL regulations)—i.e., it is primarily engaged in the production or sale of a product or service, other than the investment of capital, either directly or through a majority-owned subsidiary or subsidiaries; or

(c) there is no significant investment by “benefit plan investors” (as defined in the DOL regulations)—i.e., immediately after the most recent acquisition by an ERISA Plan of any equity interest in the entity, less than 25% of the total value of each class of equity interest (disregarding certain interests held by persons (other than benefit plan investors) with discretionary authority or control over the assets of the entity or who provide investment advice for a fee (direct or indirect) with respect to such assets, and any affiliates thereof) is held by ERISA Plans, IRAs and certain other Plans (but not including governmental plans, foreign plans and certain church plans), and entities whose underlying assets are deemed to include plan assets by reason of a Plan’s investment in the entity.

Due to the complexity of these rules and the excise taxes, penalties and liabilities that may be imposed upon persons involved in non-exempt prohibited transactions, it is particularly important that fiduciaries, or other persons considering acquiring and/or holding our common units on behalf of, or with the assets of, any Plan, consult with their counsel regarding the potential applicability of ERISA, Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue

 

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Code and any Similar Laws to such investment and whether an exemption would be applicable to the acquisition and holding of our common units. Purchasers of our common units have the exclusive responsibility for ensuring that their acquisition and holding of our common units complies with the fiduciary responsibility rules of ERISA and does not violate the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or applicable Similar Laws. The sale of our common units to a Plan is in no respect a representation by us or any of our affiliates or representatives that such an investment meets all relevant legal requirements with respect to investments by any such Plan or that such investment is appropriate for any such Plan.

 

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SELLING UNITHOLDERS

This prospectus covers the offering for resale from time to time, in one or more offerings, of common units (including common units that may be issued upon conversion of subordinated units owned by the selling unitholders identified in the table below) and other partnership securities. As of February 6, 2018, (i) the selling unitholders (other than Murray Energy Corporation) owned 44,162,356 common units (including 316,139 common units that are not being registered hereunder), (ii) Murray Energy Corporation owned 64,954,691 subordinated units and 9,628,108 common units, and (iii) Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves, collectively, owned all of the ownership interests in our general partner. Our common units and subordinated units were initially issued to Foresight Reserves in connection with our initial public offering on June 23, 2014. On April 16, 2015, Murray Energy Corporation and Foresight Reserves completed a transaction in which Murray Energy Corporation acquired, among other things, a 34% voting interest in our general partner and all of our subordinated units (which represent an approximately 50% limited partnership interest in us). On June 29, 2015, Foresight Reserves distributed 46,923,812 common units to its direct and indirect owners and certain of their related parties, all of whom are identified as selling unitholders in the table below. Subsequently, on March 27, 2017, Murray Energy Corporation contributed $60.6 million in cash to us in exchange for 9,628,108 common units, and also exercised an option to acquire an additional 46% voting interest in our general partner from Foresight Reserves and Michael J. Beyer, thereby increasing Murray Energy Corporation’s voting interest in our general partner to 80%. Information concerning any selling unitholder may change over time, including by addition of additional selling unitholders and, if necessary, we will supplement this prospectus accordingly.

The selling unitholders may sell all, some or none of the common units in the table set forth below. Please read “Plan of Distribution.” We will bear all costs, fees and expenses incurred in connection with the registration of the common units and partnership securities offered by this prospectus, other than brokerage commissions and similar selling expenses, if any, attributable to the sale of common units on behalf of the selling unitholders, which will be borne by the selling unitholders. None of the selling unitholders is a broker-dealer registered under Section 15 of the Exchange Act, or an affiliate of a broker-dealer registered under Section 15 of the Exchange Act.

The following table sets forth information relating to the selling unitholders as of February 6, 2018, based on information supplied to us by the selling unitholders on or prior to that date. We have not sought to verify such information. The selling unitholders may hold or acquire at any time common units or subordinated units in addition to the common units offered by this prospectus and may have acquired additional common units since the date on which the information reflected herein was provided to us. Additionally, the selling unitholders may have sold, transferred or otherwise disposed of some or all of the common units listed below in exempt or non-exempt transactions since the date on which the information was provided to us and may in the future sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of some or all of its common units in private placement transactions exempt from, or not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act. Assuming the sale of all of the common units registered hereby on behalf of the selling unitholders, including the common units issuable upon conversion of subordinated units, the selling unitholders will hold 316,139 common units upon completion of this offering.

 

     Common Units Owned
Prior to Offering(1)
              

Name of Selling Unitholder

   Number of
Units
    Percentage of
Outstanding
Common
Units
    Percentage of
Outstanding
Common and
Subordinated
Units
    Common
Units Being
Offered
     Common Units
Owned After
Offering
 

Murray South America, Inc.(2)

     3,041,413 (3)      3.91     2.13     3,041,413        —    

Christopher Cline(4)

     19,050,467       24.52     13.36     18,982,217        68,250  

Cline Trust Company(5)

     20,554,927       26.46     14.41     20,323,188        231,739  

Cline Resource and Development Company

     1,463,549       1.88     1.03     1,463,549        —    

Carvers Creek LLC(6)

     42,565       0.05     0.03     27,415        15,150  

Hamilton Charterwood LLC(7)

     9,435       0.01     0.01     8,435        1,000  

 

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(1) Percentages outstanding assume (i) 77,691,045 common units, which is the number of common units outstanding of February 6, 2018 and (ii) 64,954,691 subordinated units, which is the number of subordinated units outstanding as of February 6, 2018.
(2) Murray South America, Inc.’s corporate address is: 46226 National Road, St. Clairsville, OH, 43950. Murray South America, Inc. is an affiliate of Murray Energy Corporation, which owns a 80% voting interest in our general partner. Robert E. Murray, the chairman, chief executive officer and president of Murray Energy Corporation, may be deemed to have voting and investment power over the common units.
(3) Includes 64,954,691 common units that may be issued upon conversion of 64,954,691 subordinated units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership. Please see “How We Make Distributions to Our Partners—Subordination Period.”
(4) Mr. Cline, who controls Foresight Reserves, was the chairman of our general partner’s board of directors and Principal Strategy Advisor until his March 28, 2017 resignation. Foresight Reserves owns a 20% voting interest in our general partner. Mr. Cline may be deemed to have voting and investment power over the common units he holds.
(5) Timothy G. Elliott, Donald R. Holcomb and Lesslie H. Ray, the managers of Cline Trust Company, LLC, may be deemed to have voting and investment power over the common units held of record by Cline Trust Company. The members of Cline Trust Company are four trusts of which Greenway Wealth Management LLC, a Florida family trust company, is Trustee. The managers of Greenway Wealth Management LLC are Timothy G. Elliott, Donald R. Holcomb and Lesslie H. Ray. Each trust owns an approximately equal interest in Cline Trust Company: (i) The Alex T. Cline 2017 Irrevocable Trust, the beneficiary of which is Alex T. Cline, a child of Mr. Cline, (ii) The Candice Cline Kenan 2017 Irrevocable Trust, the beneficiary of which is Candice Cline Kenan, a child of Mr. Cline, (iii) The Christopher L. Cline 2017 Irrevocable Trust, the beneficiary of which is Christopher L. Cline, a child of Mr. Cline, and (iv) The Kameron N. Cline 2017 Irrevocable Trust, the beneficiary of which is Kameron N. Cline, a child of Mr. Cline. Mr. Elliott was formerly the CFO of CRDC and Ms. Ray was formerly VP of Business Development of The Cline Group, each of which is controlled by Mr. Cline.
(6) The manager of Carvers Creek LLC is Leon George Jackson III. Mr. Jackson may be deemed to have voting or investment power over the common units held by Carvers Creek LLC. Mr. Jackson is Managing Director of The Cline Group, which is controlled by Mr. Cline.
(7) The manager of Hamilton Charterwood LLC is Lesslie H. Ray. Ms. Ray may be deemed to have voting or investment power over the common units held by Hamilton Charterwood LLC. Ms. Ray was formerly VP of Business Development of The Cline Group, which is controlled by Mr. Cline.

Any selling unitholder that is our affiliate may be deemed an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act, and, as a result, may be deemed to be offering securities, indirectly, on our behalf. Because each of Murray Energy Corporation and Christopher Cline owns a substantial amount (1) of our common units (in the case of Murray Energy Corporation, common units issuable upon conversion of subordinated units) and (2) of the ownership interests in our general partner, each of Murray Energy Corporation and Christopher Cline may be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act in connection with the distribution of certain common units being registered for resale on its and his behalf, respectively.

Each time a selling unitholder sells any common units or other partnership securities offered by this prospectus, the selling unitholder is required to provide you with this prospectus and any related prospectus supplement containing specific information about such selling unitholder and the terms of the common units or other partnership securities being offered, in the manner required by the Securities Act.

No offer or sale may occur unless the registration statement that includes this prospectus has been declared effective by the SEC and remains effective at the time the selling unitholders offer or sell common units. We are required, under certain circumstances, to update, supplement or amend this prospectus to reflect material developments in our business, financial position and results of operations and may do so by an amendment to this prospectus, a prospectus supplement or a future filing with the SEC incorporated by reference in this prospectus.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

Under this prospectus, we intend to offer our securities to the public:

 

    through one or more broker-dealers;

 

    through underwriters; or

 

    directly to investors.

We will fix a price or prices of our securities at:

 

    market prices prevailing at the time of any sale under this registration statement;

 

    prices related to market prices; or

 

    negotiated prices.

We may change the price of the securities offered from time to time.

The selling unitholders may act independently of us in making decisions with respect to the timing, manner and size of each of its sales. The selling unitholders may make sales of the common units on the NYSE or otherwise at prices and under terms prevailing at the time of the sale, or at prices related to the then-current market price, at fixed prices, or in privately negotiated transactions.

We will pay or allow distributors’ or sellers’ commissions that will not exceed those customary in the types of transactions involved. Broker-dealers may act as agent or may purchase securities as principal and thereafter resell the securities from time to time:

 

    in or through one or more transactions (which may involve crosses and block transactions) or distributions;

 

    on the NYSE;

 

    in the over-the-counter market; or

 

    in private transactions.

Broker-dealers or underwriters may receive compensation in the form of underwriting discounts or commissions and may receive commissions from purchasers of the securities for whom they may act as agents. If any broker-dealer purchases the securities as principal, it may effect resales of the securities from time to time to or through other broker-dealers, and other broker-dealers may receive compensation in the form of concessions or commissions from the purchasers of securities for whom they may act as agents.

If we or the selling unitholders utilize any underwriters in the sale of the securities in respect of which this prospectus is delivered, we and, if applicable, the selling unitholders, will enter into an underwriting agreement with those underwriters at the time of sale to them. We will set forth the names of these underwriters and the terms of the transaction in the prospectus supplement, which will be used by the underwriters to make resales of the securities in respect of which this prospectus is delivered to the public. We or the selling unitholders may indemnify the underwriters under the relevant underwriting agreement against specific liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. The underwriters or their affiliates may be customers of, may engage in transactions with and may perform services for us or our affiliates in the ordinary course of business.

Offers to purchase securities may be solicited directly by us and the sale thereof may be made by us directly to institutional investors or others, who may be deemed to be underwriters within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 with respect to any resale thereof. The terms of any such sales will be described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto.

 

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We may offer our units into an existing trading market on the terms described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto. Underwriters and dealers who may participate in any at-the-market offerings will be described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto.

The aggregate maximum compensation the underwriters will receive in connection with the sale of any securities under this prospectus and the registration statement of which it forms a part will not exceed 8% of the gross proceeds from the sale.

Because the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., or FINRA, views our common units as interests in a direct participation program, any offering of common units under the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part will be made in compliance with Rule 2310 of the FINRA Rules.

To the extent required, this prospectus may be amended or supplemented from time to time to describe a specific plan of distribution. The place and time of delivery for the securities in respect of which this prospectus is delivered will be set forth in the accompanying prospectus supplement.

In connection with offerings under this shelf registration and in compliance with applicable law, underwriters, brokers or dealers may engage in transactions which stabilize or maintain the market price of the securities at levels above those which might otherwise prevail in the open market. Specifically, underwriters, brokers or dealers may over-allot in connection with offerings, creating a short position in the securities for their own accounts. For the purpose of covering a syndicate short position or stabilizing the price of the securities, the underwriters, brokers or dealers may place bids for the securities or effect purchases of the securities in the open market. Finally, the underwriters may impose a penalty whereby selling concessions allowed to syndicate members or other brokers or dealers for distribution the securities in offerings may be reclaimed by the syndicate if the syndicate repurchases previously distributed securities in transactions to cover short positions, in stabilization transactions or otherwise. These activities may stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the market price of the securities, which may be higher than the price that might otherwise prevail in the open market, and, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. will pass upon the validity of the securities offered in this registration statement. If certain legal matters in connection with an offering of the securities made by this prospectus and a related prospectus supplement are passed upon by counsel for the underwriters of such offering, that counsel will be named in the applicable prospectus supplement related to that offering.

EXPERTS

The consolidated financial statements of Foresight Energy LP appearing in Foresight Energy LP’s Annual Report (Form 10-K) for the year ended December 31, 2016 (including the schedule appearing therein), have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, as set forth in their report thereon, included therein, and incorporated herein by reference. Such consolidated financial statements are incorporated herein by reference in reliance upon such report given on the authority of such firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

This prospectus, including any documents incorporated herein by reference, constitutes a part of a registration statement on Form S-3 that we filed with the SEC under the Securities Act. This prospectus does not contain all the information set forth in the registration statement. You should refer to the registration statement and its related exhibits and schedules, and the documents incorporated herein by reference, for further information about our company and the securities offered in this prospectus. Statements contained in this prospectus concerning the provisions of any document are not necessarily complete and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of that document filed as an exhibit to the registration statement or otherwise filed with the SEC, and each such statement is qualified by this reference. The registration statement and its exhibits and schedules, and the documents incorporated herein by reference, are on file at the offices of the SEC and may be inspected without charge.

We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. You can read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You can obtain information about the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains a website that contains information we file electronically with the SEC, which you can access over the Internet at www.sec.gov.

Our home page is located at www.foresight.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the SEC are available free of charge through our web site as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports or filings are electronically filed or furnished to the SEC. Information on our web site or any other web site is not incorporated by reference in this prospectus and does not constitute a part of this prospectus unless specifically so designated and filed with the SEC.

 

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INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

We are incorporating by reference in this prospectus information we file with the SEC, which means that we are disclosing important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information we incorporate by reference is an important part of this prospectus, and later information that we file with the SEC automatically will update and supersede this information. The following documents, which have previously been filed by us with the SEC under the Exchange Act of 1934, are incorporated herein by reference:

 

    our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed on March 1, 2017;

 

    our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 2017, June 30, 2017 and September 30, 2017 filed on May 15, 2017, August 14, 2017 and November 9, 2017, respectively;

 

    the description of our common units contained in our Registration Statement on Form 8-A (File No. 001-36503) filed on June 17, 2014 and any subsequent amendments or reports filed for the purpose of updating such description; and

 

    our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed on March 1, 2017, March 1, 2017, March 7, 2017, March 17, 2017, March 20, 2017, March 29, 2017, April 3, 2017, May 11, 2017, May 12, 2017, July 7, 2017, August 11, 2017, September 1, 2017, October 2, 2017, November 9, 2017, December 1, 2017 and December 22, 2017; in each case, to the extent filed and not furnished.

All documents filed by us pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 and 15(d) of the Exchange Act of 1934 (excluding any information furnished pursuant to Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 on any current report on Form 8-K) after the date of the initial registration statement and prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement and after the date of this prospectus and prior to the termination of this offering shall be deemed to be incorporated in this prospectus by reference and to be a part hereof from the date of filing of such documents. Any statement contained herein, or in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference herein, shall be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus to the extent that a statement contained herein or in any subsequently filed document that also is or is deemed to be incorporated by reference herein, modifies or supersedes such statement. Any such statement so modified or superseded shall not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this prospectus.

This prospectus incorporates documents by reference that are not delivered herewith. You may request a copy of these filings, which we will provide to you at no cost, by writing or telephoning us at the following address and telephone number:

Foresight Energy LP

One Metropolitan Square

211 North Broadway, Suite 2600

St. Louis, MO 63102

(314) 932-6152

 

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PART II

INFORMATION NOT REQUIRED IN PROSPECTUS

 

Item 14. Other Expenses of Issuance and Distribution.

The following table sets forth the estimated expenses (other than underwriting discounts and commissions) expected to be incurred in connection with the issuance and distribution of the securities registered hereby, all of which are payable by us:

 

Securities and Exchange Commission registration fee

   $  147,063.63 (1) 

FINRA filing fee

     *  

Legal fees and expenses

     *  

Accounting fees and expenses

     *  

Printing expenses

     *  

Listing expenses

     *  

Miscellaneous

     *  
  

 

 

 

Total

   $ *  
  

 

 

 

 

(1) Estimated solely for the purpose of computing the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act and exclusive of interest, distributions and dividends, if any.
* These fees are calculated based on the number of issuances and amount of securities offered and accordingly cannot be estimated at this time.

 

Item 15. Indemnification of Directors and Officers.

The section of the prospectus entitled “The Partnership Agreement—Indemnification” is incorporated herein by reference and discloses that we will generally indemnify the directors and officers of our general partner to the fullest extent permitted by law against all losses, claims, damages or similar events. Subject to any terms, conditions or restrictions set forth in our partnership agreement, Section 17-108 of the Delaware Act empowers a Delaware limited partnership to indemnify and hold harmless any partner or other person from and against all claims and demands whatsoever.

Section 18-108 of the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act provides that a Delaware limited liability company may indemnify and hold harmless any member or manager or other person from and against any and all claims and demands whatsoever. The limited liability company agreement of Foresight Energy GP LLC, our general partner, provides for the indemnification of its directors and officers against liabilities they incur in their capacities as such. We may enter into indemnity agreements with each of its current directors and officers to give these directors and officers additional contractual assurances regarding the scope of the indemnification set forth in our general partner’s limited liability company agreement and to provide additional procedural protections.

Any underwriting agreement entered into in connection with the sale of the securities offered pursuant to this registration statement will provide for indemnification of officers and directors of the general partner, including for liabilities incurred under the Securities Act.

 

Item 16. Exhibits.

See the Exhibit Index on the page immediately preceding the exhibits for a list of the exhibits being filed as a part of this registration statement on Form S-3, which Exhibit Index is incorporated herein by reference.

 

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Item 17. Undertakings.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes:

(1) To file, during any period in which offers or sales are being made, a post-effective amendment to this registration statement:

(i) To include any prospectus required by Section 10(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933;

(ii) To reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of this registration statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in this registration statement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any increase or decrease in volume of securities offered (if the total dollar value of securities offered would not exceed that which was registered) and any deviation from the low or high end of the estimated maximum offering range may be reflected in the form of prospectus filed with the Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) if, in the aggregate, the changes in volume and price represent no more than a 20 percent change in the maximum aggregate offering price set forth in the “Calculation of Registration Fee” table in the effective registration statement; and

(iii) To include any material information with respect to the plan of distribution not previously disclosed in this registration statement or any material change to such information in this registration statement;

provided, however, that paragraphs (1)(i), (1)(ii) and (1)(iii) above do not apply if the registration statement is on Form S-3 and the information required to be included in a post-effective amendment by those paragraphs is contained in reports filed with or furnished to the Commission by the registrants pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are incorporated by reference in the registration statement, or is contained in a form of prospectus filed pursuant to Rule 424(b) that is part of this registration statement;

(2) That, for the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each such post-effective amendment shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(3) To remove from registration by means of a post-effective amendment any of the securities being registered which remain unsold at the termination of the offering.

(4) That, for the purpose of determining liability under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser:

(a) Each prospectus filed by the registrant pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3) shall be deemed to be part of the registration statement as of the date the filed prospectus was deemed part of and included in the registration statement; and

(b) Each prospectus required to be filed pursuant to Rule 424(b)(2), (b)(5), or (b)(7) as part of a registration statement in reliance on Rule 430B relating to an offering made pursuant to Rule 415(a)(1)(i), (vii), or (x) for the purpose of providing the information required by section 10(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 shall be deemed to be part of and included in the registration statement as of the earlier of the date such form of prospectus is first used after effectiveness or the date of the first contract of sale of securities in the offering described in the prospectus. As provided in Rule 430B, for liability purposes of the issuer and any person that is at that date an underwriter, such date shall be deemed to be a new effective date of the registration statement relating to the securities in the registration statement to which that prospectus relates, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof. Provided, however, that no statement made in a registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement or made in a document incorporated or deemed incorporated by reference into the registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement will, as to a purchaser with a time of contract of sale prior to such

 

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effective date, supersede or modify any statement that was made in the registration statement or prospectus that was part of the registration statement or made in any such document immediately prior to such effective date.

(5) That, for the purpose of determining liability of the registrant under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser in the initial distribution of the securities, the undersigned registrant undertakes that in a primary offering of securities of the undersigned registrant pursuant to this registration statement, regardless of the underwriting method used to sell the securities to the purchaser, if the securities are offered or sold to such purchaser by means of any of the following communications, the undersigned registrant will be a seller to the purchaser and will be considered to offer or sell such securities to such purchaser:

(a) Any preliminary prospectus or prospectus of the undersigned registrant relating to the offering required to be filed pursuant to Rule 424;

(b) Any free writing prospectus relating to the offering prepared by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant or used or referred to by the undersigned registrant;

(c) The portion of any other free writing prospectus relating to the offering containing material information about the undersigned registrant or its securities provided by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant; and

(d) Any other communication that is an offer in the offering made by the undersigned registrant to the purchaser.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that, for purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each filing of the registrant’s annual report pursuant to Section 13(a) or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (and, where applicable, each filing of an employee benefit plan’s annual report pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) that is incorporated by reference in this registration statement shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933 may be permitted to directors, officers and controlling persons of the registrant pursuant to the foregoing provisions, or otherwise, the registrant has been advised that in the opinion of the Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act of 1933 and is, therefore, unenforceable. In the event that a claim for indemnification against such liabilities (other than the payment by the registrant of expenses incurred or paid by a director, officer or controlling person of the registrant in the successful defense of any action, suit or proceeding) is asserted by such director, officer or controlling person in connection with the securities being registered, the registrant will, unless in the opinion of its counsel the matter has been settled by controlling precedent, submit to a court of appropriate jurisdiction the question whether such indemnification by it is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act of 1933 and will be governed by the final adjudication of such issue.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes to file an application for the purpose of determining the eligibility of the trustee under each of its indentures to act under subsection (a) of Section 310 of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended (the “Trust Indenture Act”), in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the Commission under Section 305(b)(2) of the Trust Indenture Act.

 

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EXHIBIT INDEX

 

Exhibit
Number

  

Description

  1.1**    Form of Underwriting Agreement
  4.1    Registration Rights Agreement dated June 23, 2014 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Partnership’s Current Report on Form 8-K (File No. 001-36503) filed on June 23, 2014).
  4.2    Warrant Agreement (including the Form of Warrant Certificate), dated as of August 30, 2016, between Foresight Energy LP and American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC (incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit 4.3 to the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on September 6, 2016 (SEC File No.001-36503)).
  5.1*    Opinion of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. as to the legality of the securities registered
  8.1*    Opinion of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. relating to tax matters
23.1*    Consent of Ernst & Young LLP
23.2*    Consent of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. (contained in Exhibits 5.1 and 8.1)
24.1*    Powers of Attorney (included on the signature pages of this Registration Statement)

 

* Filed herewith.
** To be filed as an Exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K or in a post-effective amendment to this registration statement.

 

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, the registrant certifies that it has reasonable grounds to believe that it meets all of the requirements for filing on Form S-3 and has duly caused this Registration Statement on Form S-3 to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized on the 9th day of February, 2018.

 

Foresight Energy LP
By:  

Foresight Energy GP LLC,

its general partner

By:   /s/ Robert D. Moore
Name:   Robert D. Moore
Title:   President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors (Principal Executive Officer)

POWER OF ATTORNEY

KNOW ALL PEOPLE BY THESE PRESENTED, that each person whose signature appears below hereby appoints Robert D. Moore acting alone, his/her true and lawful attorney-in-fact with full power of substitution or re-substitution, for such person and in such person’s name, place and stead, in any and all capacities, to sign on such person’s behalf, individually and in each capacity stated below, any and all amendments, including post-effective amendments to this Registration Statement, and to sign any and all additional registration statements relating to the same offering of securities of the Registration Statement that are filed pursuant to Rule 462(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, and to file the same, with all exhibits thereto, and other documents in connection therewith, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, granting unto said attorney-in-fact, full power and authority to do and perform each and every act and thing requisite or necessary to be done in and about the premises, as fully to all intents and purposes as such person might or could do in person, hereby ratifying and confirming all that said attorney-in-fact, or his substitute or substitutes, may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue hereof

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, this registration statement on Form S-3 has been signed by the following officers and directors of Foresight Energy GP LLC, as managing general partner of Foresight Energy LP, the registrant, in the capacities and on the dates indicated.

 

Signature

  

Title

 

Date

/s/ Robert D. Moore

Robert D. Moore

   President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors (Principal Executive Officer)   February 9, 2018

/s/ Jeremy J. Harrison

Jeremy J. Harrison

   Principal Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer   February 9, 2018

/s/ G. Nicholas Casey, Jr.

G. Nicholas Casey, Jr.

   Director   February 9, 2018

 

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/s/ Daniel S. Hermann

Daniel S. Hermann

   Director   February 9, 2018

/s/ Brian D. Sullivan

Brian D. Sullivan

   Director   February 9, 2018

/s/ Paul H. Vining

Paul H. Vining

   Director   February 9, 2018

/s/ Robert E. Murray

Robert E. Murray

   Director   February 9, 2018

 

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Section 2: EX-5.1 (EX-5.1)

EX-5.1

Exhibit 5.1

 

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Tel +1.214.220.7700 Fax +1.214.220.7716

February 9, 2018

Foresight Energy LP

211 North Broadway, Suite 2600

Saint Louis, MO 63102

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have acted as counsel for Foresight Energy LP, a Delaware limited partnership (the “Partnership”) in connection with the preparation of a registration statement on Form S-3 (the “Registration Statement”) filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) by the Partnership under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), with respect to the offer and sale from time to time, pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act, by:

(1) the Partnership of common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership (the “Common Units”), at an aggregate initial offering price not to exceed $1,000,000,000; and

(2) the selling unitholders identified in the Registration Statement (the “Selling Unitholders”), of up to 43,846,217 common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership (the “Selling Unitholder Units”).

We have also participated in the preparation of the Prospectus (the “Prospectus”) contained in the Registration Statement to which this opinion is an exhibit. The Common Units and Selling Unitholder Units will be offered in amounts, at prices and on terms to be determined in light of market conditions at the time of sale and to be set forth in supplements (each, a “Prospectus Supplement”) to the Prospectus.

In rendering the opinions set forth below, we have examined (i) the Registration Statement, including the Prospectus, (ii) the First Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership of the Partnership (the “Partnership Agreement”), (iii) the Certificate of Limited Partnership of the Partnership filed with the Secretary of State of Delaware, (iv) resolutions of Foresight Energy GP LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and the general partner of the Partnership and (v) such other certificates and documents as we have deemed necessary or appropriate for purposes of the opinions hereafter expressed.

In connection with rendering the opinions set forth below, we have assumed that:

(i) all information contained in all documents reviewed by us is true and correct;

 

Vinson & Elkins LLP Attorneys at Law

Austin  Beijing   Dallas  Dubai   Hong Kong   Houston   London Moscow   New York   Palo Alto   Richmond   Riyadh   San Francisco Taipei   Tokyo   Washington

  

Trammell Crow Center, 2001 Ross Avenue, Suite 3700
Dallas, TX 75201-2975

Tel +1.214.220.7700 Fax +1.214.220.7716 velaw.com


Foresight Energy LP February 9, 2018 Page 2

(ii) all signatures on all documents examined by us are genuine;

(iii) each person signing documents we examined has the legal authority and capacity to do so;

(iv) all documents submitted to us as originals are authentic and complete and all documents submitted to us as copies conform to the originals of those documents;

(v) each certificate from governmental officials reviewed by us is accurate, complete and authentic, and all official public records are accurate and complete;

(vi) the Registration Statement, and any amendments thereto (including post-effective amendments), will have become effective and comply with all applicable laws;

(vii) a Prospectus Supplement to the Prospectus will have been prepared and filed with the Commission describing the Common Units and Selling Unitholder Units offered thereby and will comply with all applicable laws;

(viii) all Common Units and Selling Unitholder Units will be issued and sold in compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and in the manner stated in the Registration Statement and the applicable Prospectus Supplement to the Prospectus; and

(ix) a definitive purchase, underwriting or similar agreement with respect to any Common Units or Selling Unitholder Units offered will have been duly authorized and validly executed and delivered by the Partnership or the Selling Unitholders, as applicable, and the other parties thereto.

Based upon and subject to the foregoing, we are of the opinion that:

(1) With respect to the Common Units, when (a) the Partnership has taken all necessary action to approve the issuance of such Common Units, the terms of the offering thereof and related matters and (b) the Common Units have been issued and delivered in accordance with the terms of the applicable definitive purchase, underwriting or similar agreement approved by the Partnership upon payment of the consideration thereof or provided for therein, then the Common Units will be validly issued, fully paid (to the extent required under the Partnership Agreement) and nonassessable (except as such nonassessability may be affected by Section 17-607 or 17-804 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (“DRULPA”) and as described in the Prospectus Supplement and the Prospectus).

(2) The Selling Unitholder Units have been validly issued, fully paid (to the extent required under the Partnership Agreement) and nonassessable (except as such nonassessability may be affected by Section 17-607 or 17-804 of the DRULPA and as described in the Prospectus Supplement and the Prospectus).


Foresight Energy LP February 9, 2018 Page 3

The opinions expressed herein are qualified in the following respects:

(i) This opinion is limited in all respects to the DRULPA, the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act, the Delaware General Corporation Law and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, as interpreted by the courts of the State of Delaware, the contract law of the State of Texas and the federal laws of the United States of America and we are expressing no opinion as to the effect of the laws of any other jurisdiction, domestic or foreign.

(ii) We express no opinion as to any matters other than as expressly set forth above, and no opinion on any other matter may be inferred or implied herefrom. The opinions expressed herein are given as of the date hereof, and we undertake no, and hereby disclaim any, obligation to advise you of any change in any matter set forth herein.

We hereby consent to the reference to this firm under the caption “Legal Matters” in the Prospectus and to the filing of this opinion as an exhibit to the Registration Statement. By giving such consent, we do not admit that we are within the category of persons whose consent is required under Section 7 of the Securities Act or the rules and regulations of the Commission issued thereunder.

 

Very truly yours,

/s/ Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

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Section 3: EX-8.1 (EX-8.1)

EX-8.1

Exhibit 8.1

 

LOGO

February 9, 2018

Foresight Energy LP

211 North Broadway, Suite 2600

Saint Louis, MO 63102

 

  RE: Foresight Energy LP Registration Statement on Form S-1

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have acted as counsel for Foresight Energy LP, a Delaware limited partnership (the “Partnership”), with respect to certain legal matters in connection with the preparation of a Prospectus dated on or about the date hereof (the “Prospectus”) forming part of the Registration Statement on Form S-3 (the “Registration Statement”), to which this opinion is an exhibit. The Registration Statement relates to the registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the “Securities Act”) of common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership.

This opinion is based on various facts and assumptions, and is conditioned upon certain representations made by the Partnership as to factual matters through a certificate of an officer of the Partnership (the “Officer’s Certificate”). In addition, this opinion is based upon the factual representations of the Partnership concerning its business, properties and governing documents as set forth in the Registration Statement.

In our capacity as counsel to the Partnership, we have made such legal and factual examinations and inquiries, including an examination of originals or copies certified or otherwise identified to our satisfaction of such documents, corporate records and other instruments, as we have deemed necessary or appropriate for purposes of this opinion. In our examination, we have assumed the authenticity of all documents submitted to us as originals, the genuineness of all signatures thereon, the legal capacity of natural persons executing such documents and the conformity to authentic original documents of all documents submitted to us as copies. For the purpose of our opinion, we have not made an independent investigation or audit of the facts set forth in the above-referenced documents or in the Officer’s Certificate. In addition, in rendering this opinion we have assumed the truth and accuracy of all representations and statements made to us which are qualified as to knowledge or belief, without regard to such qualification.

We hereby confirm that all statements of legal conclusions contained in the discussion in the Registration Statement under the caption “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences” constitute the opinion of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. with respect to the matters set forth therein as of the effective date of the Registration Statement, subject to the

 

Vinson & Elkins LLP Attorneys at Law

Austin Beijing Dallas Dubai Hong Kong Houston London Moscow New York

Palo Alto Richmond Riyadh San Francisco Taipei Tokyo Washington

  

1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2500

Houston, TX 77002-6760

Tel +1.713.758.2222 Fax +1.713.758.2346 www.velaw.com


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assumptions, qualifications, and limitations set forth therein. This opinion is based on various statutory provisions, regulations promulgated thereunder and interpretations thereof by the Internal Revenue Service and the courts having jurisdiction over such matters, all of which are subject to change either prospectively or retroactively. Also, any variation or difference in the facts from those set forth in the representations described above, including in the Registration Statement and the Officer’s Certificate, may affect the conclusions stated herein.

No opinion is expressed as to any matter not discussed in the Registration Statement under the caption “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences.” We are opining herein only as to the federal income tax matters described above, and we express no opinion with respect to the applicability to, or the effect on, any transaction of other federal laws, foreign laws, the laws of any state or any other jurisdiction or as to any matters of municipal law or the laws of any other local agencies within any state.

This opinion is rendered to you as of the effective date of the Registration Statement, and we undertake no obligation to update this opinion subsequent to the date hereof. This opinion is furnished to you and may be relied on by you in connection with the transactions set forth in the Registration Statement. In addition, this opinion may be relied on by persons entitled to rely on it pursuant to applicable provisions of federal securities law, including persons purchasing common units pursuant to the Registration Statement. However, this opinion may not be relied upon for any other purpose or furnished to, assigned to, quoted to or relied upon by any other person, firm or other entity, for any purpose, without our prior written consent.

We hereby consent to the filing of this opinion of counsel as an exhibit to the Registration Statement and the use of our name in the Registration Statement. In giving such consent, we do not admit that we are within the category of persons whose consent is required under Section 7 of the Securities Act.

 

Very truly yours,
/s/ VINSON & ELKINS L.L.P.
Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.
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Section 4: EX-23.1 (EX-23.1)

EX-23.1

Exhibit 23.1

CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

We consent to the reference to our firm under the caption “Experts” in the Registration Statement (Form S-3 No. 333-) and related Prospectus of Foresight Energy LP for the registration of its common units and to the incorporation by reference therein of our report dated March 1, 2017, with respect to the consolidated financial statements and schedule of Foresight Energy LP included in its Annual Report (Form 10-K) for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

/s/ Ernst & Young LLP

St. Louis, Missouri

February 9, 2018

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