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Struggling New Zealand Coal Miner Posts Big Loss

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) â¿¿ Lower international coal prices and a strong New Zealand dollar contributed to a large annual loss by struggling coal miner Solid Energy.

The state-owned miner announced Thursday it had lost 335 million New Zealand dollars ($278 million) in the year ending June 30 after writing down its assets and laying off workers. Revenue was down 35 percent to NZ$631 million and profits after excluding one-off items were down 78 percent to NZ$22 million.

Observers have accused Solid Energy of overextending itself when coal prices were booming.

Earlier this week, the company reached an agreement in principle with the government and its lenders to restructure its debts and continue operating.

Since last year, the company has mothballed a mine and laid off 550 workers, reducing its workforce from 1,650 to 900.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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