June 20 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Mechel, Russia’s biggest miner of steelmaking coal, said first-quarter profit fell 29 percent as coal prices dropped and mines were halted for safety checks.
Net income declined to $218 million from $309 million a year earlier, Mechel said today in a statement. That beat the $125 million median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 0.5 percent to $2.95 billion.
Coal prices have retreated as China’s growth slows, eroding demand in the world’s biggest user of the steelmaking material. Coal India Ltd., the largest producer, reported a 5 percent decline in profit last month. Moscow-based Mechel also suspended production at two sites in December amid safety concerns.
Mechel dropped as much as 2.4 percent in Moscow trading, the biggest intraday decline in a week. The stock was down 1.9 percent at 204.60 rubles as of 12:16 p.m. local time.
The company is studying asset disposals as it seeks to reduce debt, which totaled $9.6 billion at the end of March.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $463 million in the first quarter, exceeding the $458 million analyst estimate. Losses at the ferroalloys division widened to $56 million.
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