James River Coal profit down 5 percent

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James River Coal’s profit fell 17 percent during the first quarter, but beat analysts’ estimates.

The Richmond-based coal producer said net income for the first quarter was $23.2 million, or 84 cents per diluted share, compared with $28.2 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in the same period last year. Analysts had been expecting 42 cents per share, according to the Dow Jones news service.

James River Coal believes coal demand is starting to rebound from the recession.

“With regard to the coal markets, we are beginning to see clear signs of a recovery from recession levels.,” Chairman and CEO Peter T. Socha said in a statement. “We will continue to be patient with our contracting strategy.”

Revenues during the quarter fell 3.9 percent to $184.6 million, compared with $192.1 million last year.

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