Peabody Energy Corp. reported a $23.4 million net loss in
the first quarter on weaker U.S. coal sales and lower coal prices in Australia.
The loss equaled 9 cents a share compared with net income of $172.7 million, or 63 cents, in the same quarter last year. Sales fell 14 percent to $1.75 billion.
Coal producers were hurt as electric utilities switched away from coal to cleaner natural gas in large numbers last year. But St. Louis-based Peabody, the world's largest private-sector coal company, sees that trend reversing.
"We now expect that during 2013, coal will recapture the vast majority of its 2012 demand that was lost to natural gas," Gregory H. Boyce, Peabody's chief executive, said in a statement.
Prices of so-called metallurgical coal used for steelmaking have also declined from last year.
Excluding discontinued operations and other nonrecurring costs, Peabody's loss was $10.3 million, or 5 cents a share. The company was expected to lose 14 cents a share based on the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
(c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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