Peabody Energy reports 18 percent growth in earnings
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St. Louis, Missouri-based Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, reported Thursday that Q1 2012 EBITDA of $512.6 million was an 18 percent increase over last year. Additionally, Q1 revenues rose 17 percent to $2.04 billion, driven by a 27 percent increase in Australian revenues per ton and a 7 percent rise in US revenues per ton. Sales volumes of 61.7 million tons were slightly above prior year sales of 61.2 million tons. Peabody Chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce noted that metallurgical coal markets have stabilized, and there is upside potential in the second half of 2012.
US revenues rose 5 percent, driven by higher realized prices in both the Midwestern and Western regions. US shipments were largely in line with 2011 as the company only shipped to meet contractual commitments. US mining EBITDA rose 10 percent to $317.3 million due to higher revenues and increased per-ton margins in both the West and Midwest.
However, US coal markets experienced first quarter declines in both consumption and production, with sharp declines in US coal-fueled generation due to coal-to-gas switching, mild winter weather and low economic growth. Peabody estimates that first quarter US coal shipments declined 7 percent. Reductions accelerated throughout the quarter to an estimated 13 percent in March, which would equate to more than 140 million tons on an annualized basis.