NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Peabody Energy (BTU - Get Report) were falling 8.2% to $1.45 today after the coal company announced shareholder approval of a 1-for-15 reverse stock split.

Shareholders approved the reverse split at a special meeting held on Wednesday.

The reverse stock split is expected to become effective after the close of business on September 30, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis when the market opens on October 1.

After the reverse split is completed every 15 shares of Peadbody owned by a single shareholder will be combined into one share. The number of outstanding shares will drop from about 278 million to about 19 million following the reverse split.

"We thank our shareholders for their continued support as we work through these challenging times," President and CEO Glenn Kellow said in a statement. "Peabody is advancing further initiatives across our global platform with an intense focus on operational excellence, lean organization, portfolio management and financial strength."

TheStreet Ratings team rates PEABODY ENERGY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PEABODY ENERGY CORP (BTU) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself. "

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1326.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$73.30 million to -$1,045.30 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.81 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, BTU has a quick ratio of 0.53, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PEABODY ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$59.80 million or 382.07% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 87.73%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 1225.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BTU