Critics of Peabody Energy have become quite good at making a scene at their protests of the corporation headquartered in St. Louis. And that might just be why Peabody is going to be holding its annual meeting for shareholders 1,000 miles away in Gillette, Wyoming.
At least that's the theory of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, an activist group that caught wind of the corporation's location choice this week. It is the first time the company has ever held the event outside of St. Louis.
"It's clear that they would rather run and hide in Gillette," MORE organizer Arielle Klagsbrun tells Daily RFT, "than be in the place where they like to say they are such good corporate citizens."
Peabody officials, however, have a different explanation.
The Wyoming location -- the first non-St. Louis location since Peabody became a publicly traded entity in 2002 -- is disclosed in an annual report dated yesterday and available online. It says only that the annual meeting for shareholders will be Monday, April 29, at 4 p.m. at Gillette College in Wyoming.
Contacted about the accusations that this was a deliberate move to avoid protests, Peabody officials sent Daily RFT a statement, describing the Wyoming location as a strategic one. Vic Svec, a spokesman for Peabody, writes:
Peabody Energy is pleased to announce that the company is holding its annual meeting in Gillette, Wyo., in recognition of Peabody's leading position in coal sales and reserves in the Southern Powder River Basin. The meeting location also allows Peabody to showcase its North Antelope Rochelle Mine, the world's largest and most productive coal mine.
Peabody says it periodically holds meetings of its board of directors in locations where the company has no operations and adds that this location allows the corporation "to highlight the importance of America's largest coal region, which is one of the great energy centers of the world."
Continue for response from MORE and additional photos.
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