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Peabody Reports Surprise Loss on Lower Coal Prices

Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal miner, reported an unexpected first-quarter loss after the price of steel making coal fell.

The net loss widened to $48.5 million, or 18 cents a share, from $23.4 million, or 5 cents, a year earlier, the St. Louis-based company said today in a statement on PRNewswire. Excluding one-time items, Peabody lost 19 cents a share, missing the 1-cent average profit of 21 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales declined to $1.63 billion from $1.75 billion a year earlier.

Peabody’s Australian revenue per ton fell by 17 percent as the price of metallurgical coal, the variety steelmakers use to reduce iron ore, dropped to a six-year low. Australian miners and Asian steelmakers agreed on a $120 per metric ton benchmark contract for the second quarter, the lowest price since 2007.

“Even with increased coal demand, continued supply overhang has led to seaborne coal price declines,” Peabody Chief Executive Officer Greg Boyce said in the statement.

The earnings were released before the start of regular trading on U.S. markets. Peabody gained 0.6 percent to $17.42 yesterday in New York. The shares have dropped 11 percent this year.

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

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

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