Penn Virginia Company History Timeline

(10 Jobs)

Penn Virginia was incorporated in Virginia in 1882 as the Virginia Coal & Iron Co. (VC&I) by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, businessman John Leisenring, Jr., whose family's ties to the United States coal industry reached back to the earliest days.


John Leisenring died of Bright's disease at the age of 65 in 1884, leaving his son Edward in charge of his business interests, aided by several relations, including brother-in-law Doctor John S. Wentz.


In 1889 the Leisenring group was outmaneuvered by Henry Clay Frick and forced to sell their Connellsville properties to him at cost, some $3 million.


Upon Edward Leisenring's death in 1894, Doctor Wentz took charge of the family's Virginia interests, which would become even more valuable with the rise of electricity.


Stonega Coke & Coal Co. was formed in 1902 to serve as VC&I's operational arm and in that same year the company opened its first mines and coke ovens.


Also in 1929 Westmoreland's president died and the management of that concern was turned over to Stonega.


As a result, Leisenring became president of Stonega, Westmoreland, and VC&I. His son, E. B. (Ted) Leisenring, Jr., would come to work for the family interests in 1949 at the age of 23.


Penn Virginia gained $54.7 million when it sold an interest in Norfolk Southern Company, a small railroad, the stock of which it had picked up in 1963.


In 1967 it formed Wheelwright Corp. to produce fly ash aggregate used in making concrete.


In 1972 he attempted to merge Penn Virginia and Westmoreland, and when that failed he instead effected a more complete separation.


In 1973 Viall-Ohio Fly Ash Co. was acquired to supplement these operations.


The following year Penn Virginia expanded its interests in aggregates by acquiring Limestone Products Corp., then in 1976 bought Pennsylvania Crusher Corp. to become involved in the manufacture of crushing machinery.


More manufacturing assets were added in 1978 with the acquisition of Vibranetics Inc., maker of vibrating feeders, bins, and dischargers.


Then, in 1980 Penn Virginia paid $10 million for Merrick Scale Manufacturing, a New Jersey maker of dynamic weighing and material handling technology.


Abington, Virginia-based Controlled Resources Oil & Gas Corp. was acquired in 1981.


Natural gas properties in southern West Virginia were bought from United Meridian Corp. in 1995.


In 1996 alone Penn Virginia added some 220 million tons of coal reserves, which were then leased to more than a dozen operators.

For the year 1996 Penn Virginia reported revenues of $34.1 million and net income of $13 million.


In July 1997 Penn Virginia engineered a two-for-one stock split, increasing the number of available shares in preparation for joining the New York Stock Exchange two months later.


Also in 1999 the company formed joint ventures to explore for natural gas in Appalachia, and added 94 million tons of coal reserves in West Virginia by acquiring property that also included oil and gas leases and timber assets.


Management persevered in its approach in 2002, when PVR paid $12 million for 16 million tons of northern West Virginia coal reserves, and later in the year added 120 million tons of coal reserves from Peabody Energy Corporation.

Penn Virginia's portfolio of assets and clean balance sheet attracted the attention of legendary corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, Jr., in 2002, who made a bid of nearly $330 million to buy the company, but the offer was rejected and he ultimately bowed out.


Mason, Todd, "Hedge Fund Wants Chief Executive to Resign from Radnor, Pa.-based Energy Firm," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 2003.


Sales increased to $228 million in 2004 and net income improved to $33.4 million.

PVR added to its coal interests in 2004 by acquiring a half interest in the Tennessee and Virginia coal-handling facilities owned by Massey Energy Co.


Penn Virginia was well positioned to benefit from record energy prices, as revenues ballooned to $673.9 million in 2005 and net income almost doubled to $62.1 million.


"Penn Virginia Corporation ." International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 85. . (April 16, 2021).

Company Founded
Houston, TX
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John Leisenring Jr.
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