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Peabody revenue affected by weak Australian coal operations

World Coal,

A steeper-than-expected 14% fall in quarterly revenue has been posted by coal miner Peabody Energy Corp, due to subdued prices of metallurgical coal and a labour stoppage at two of the company’s Australian mines.

Total revenue fell to US$ 1.74 billion in Q4 ended 31 December, with the coal miner’s Australian operations recording a 20% fall.

Analysts had broadly expected Peabody to announce total revenue of US$ 1.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Peabody has been affected by market pressure for both its higher-margin metallurgical coal, as well as thermal coal. Last month, the company lowered its forecast for earnings before taxes depreciation and amortisation due to delays in commissioning a new longwall coal caving system at the North Goonyella mine in Australia and a labour stoppage at another mine in the country.

Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to US$ 565.7 million, or US$ 2.12/share, from US$ 1.01 billion, or US$ 3.78/share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Peabody broke even on a per share basis. Most analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 10 cents/share.

The coal miner said it expects to report between a loss of 10 cents/share and a profit of 14 cents/share in Q1 2014, while analysts expect a loss of 4 cents/share.

Peabody said that it would target continued cost improvements and capital reductions in 2014, but said that it had delivered on its own objectives for 2013.

“Peabody delivered on our 2013 objectives, with notable operating performance, structural cost improvements, disciplined capital spending and solid cash flow,” said Peabody Energy chairman and CEO, Gregory Boyce. “Our leading presence in the high-growth Pacific rim region and the lowest-cost US basins positions the company to manager near-term markets and have significant earnings leverage to volume and price as markets continue to improve.” 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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