For the three months ending
Revenues from coal were
The quarter also included a
On a conference call with investors, Alpha Chairman and CEO
"2013 was a challenging year for Alpha and the coal industry," Crutchfield said. "After completing extensive restructuring initiative in 2012 we announced further cost reductions in the fall of 2013 to better match our production and overhead expenses with current and anticipated market conditions."
For the entire year, Alpha's total revenues fell by about 30 percent, from about
But recent cold weather combined with much higher natural gas prices have created some promise in the domestic thermal coal market, Crutchfield said.
"The persistent cold spells we've seen in the last several weeks have resulted in increased demand and interest in coal-fired electrical generation," Crutchfield said. "This demand is expected to accelerate the draw-down in utility stockpiles across the various regions."
There are also concerns about reliability of the power grid, Crutchfield said.
"There has also been recent speculation that the planned closing of some coal-fired plants might be postponed due to concerns over grid reliability. These concerns are real, as some of the Midwestern and eastern utilities have requested consumers to conserve energy," Crutchfield said. "We don't know what the outcome might be or the magnitude of potential delays, however it is encouraging that electrical generators and grid operators are focusing on the critical role of coal-fired generation in maintaining a reliable energy supply."
Prices for metallurgical coal remain soft, but there are signs the international market is improving slightly, Crutchfield said on the company's conference call.
"On the demand side, the
The central and South American steel markets are also expecting growth, Crutchfield said.
After a strong opening Wednesday on the
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