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Peabody Posts Unexpected Loss on Lower Coking Coal Prices

Peabody Energy Corp., 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. 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, also known as coking coal and used by steelmakers 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.

Peabody rose 2.4 percent to $17.84 in New York.

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