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Walter Earnings Miss Estimates After Coking-Coal Prices Drop

Walter Energy Inc. (WLT), the U.S. mining company that paid C$5.3 billion ($5.3 billion) for Western Coal Corp. in April, posted fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates after metallurgical-coal prices fell.

Net income dropped 8.8 percent to $83.8 million, or $1.34 a share, from $91.9 million, or $1.72, a year earlier, Birmingham, Alabama-based Walter said today in a statement. The average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of $1.50 a share.

Sales of metallurgical coal, which is used in steelmaking, rose 60 percent to 2.4 million tons. The average selling price for hard coking coal was $244 a metric ton. The company’s so- called average cash cost of production climbed to $131.74 a ton from $91.14.

“Average realized pricing was a little lower than we were looking for and average costs were a little higher,” Jim Rollyson, a Houston-based analyst with Raymond James Financial Inc., said in a telephone interview.

Walter reiterated its guidance of 11.5 million to 13 million tons of coal production in 2012. It sold 8.7 million tons in 2011.

Walter rose 1.7 percent to $66.64 in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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