Seeking Alpha

Arch Coal -3.7% after bigger than expected Q4 loss on weak sales

  • Arch Coal (ACI) -3.7% premarket after reporting a bigger than expected Q4 loss due to lower shipments and weak prices of both thermal and metallurgical coal; it was ACI's eighth consecutive quarterly loss.
  • ACI says rail service disruptions in Q4 hurt shipments of thermal coal, used to generate electricity, from its Powder River Basin mines in Wyoming, but did not specify the cause of the disruptions.
  • ACI earned $1.81/ton in consolidated cash margin at its Leer Mine vs. $3.03/ton in Q3, as its consolidated sales price rose 2%/ton while the consolidated cash cost price rose 10%/ton; similar decreases occurred at its Powder River Basin and in Appalachia operations.
  • Expects to sell 131.5M-142.5M tons of coal in 2014 vs. 139.6M tons in 2013.
  • While thermal markets are gaining momentum, global met coal markets remain weak, ACI says; however, seaborne metallurgical prices are likely at unsustainably low levels, making it difficult to justify ongoing and new capital investment.
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