Virginia coal companies report third-quarter earnings

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Alpha Natural Resources Inc. earned a profit in the third quarter, compared to a loss for the same time last year. Third quarter net income for the Abingdon-based coal miner was $31.8 million, or 27 cents per diluted share, compared to a loss of $16.2 million, or 16 cents a share for the same quarter last year. 

Excluding amortization of coal supply agreements and merger-related expenses stemming from the 2009 acquisition of Foundation Coal, third quarter adjusted income from continuing operations was $70.7 million,  or 58 cents per diluted share — higher than the $52.6 million or 50 cents per share a year ago, but lower than Wall Street expectations.

While Alpha reported increased shipment volumes and higher prices for its coal, it missed analyst expectations for the quarter of 79 cents per share.

On Wednesday, its stock was trading at $43.93 per share, down $2.79 or 6.1 percent, on a volume of just more than 2 million shares. 

Meanwhile, James River Coal Co. in Richmond reported net income of $9.2 million of 33 cents per diluted share for the third quarter, compared to net income of $9.8 million or 36 cents per share for the same time last year. 

Peter T. Socha, chairman and CEO, state in a statement that costs and productivity at its mines had been affected by state and federal regulators, who have cranked up safety inspections, following a spate of accidents this spring, including an explosion at a Massey-owned mine in West Virginia that killed 29 miners. “As these adjustments are completed, we expect the impact on costs and productivity to be reduced. In the coal markets, we are clearly starting to see signs of improvement,” Socha said.


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