Peabody Sales Trail Analysts’ Estimates as Coal Prices Decline

Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ estimates as the price of coal used in steelmaking fell.

Sales dropped 14 percent to $1.74 billion from $2.02 billion a year earlier, St. Louis-based Peabody said today in a statement. That compares with the $1.76 billion average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Peabody’s net loss narrowed to $2.12 a share from $3.78 a year earlier.

The benchmark contract price between steelmakers and Australian miners including BHP Billiton Ltd. for coking coal has settled at $143 a metric ton for the first quarter, according to Doyle Trading Consultants LLC, a New York-based coal researcher. That’s 13 percent less than the $165 agreed upon by the BHP/Mitsubishi Alliance a year earlier.

Coking, or metallurgical coal, the premium variety of the fuel used as a steelmaking ingredient, provided 43 percent of Peabody’s revenue in 2012, according to the company.

The company said in December that 2013 earnings would be about $60 million to $80 million lower than an October forecast because of the impact of a labor dispute at its Metropolitan mine and delays in commissioning machinery at Peabody’s North Goonyella mine in Australia. Peabody had forecast full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1.07 billion to $1.15 billion excluding one-time items.

(Peabody scheduled a conference call to discuss results at 11 a.m. New York time. Dial +1-800-288-8960 or visit PeabodyEnergy.com)

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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