Foundation Coal Earnings Jump

Volumes and prices rise.
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Foundation Coal Holdings

(FCL)

, a coal producer with 13 coal mines, said its first-quarter earnings rose 66%, thanks to higher volumes and stronger average realized prices.

The Linthicum Heights, Md.-based company earned $31.3 million, or 67 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $18.9 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 50 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

First-quarter revenue rose 29.4% to $395.3 million as against analysts' estimate of $370.2 million.

The company reaffirmed its full year earnings guidance of $1.50 a share to $2.15 a share, on revenue of $1.42 billion to $1.50 billion, as against analysts' estimate of $2.05 a share, on revenue of $1.46 billion.

Coal sales revenues increased 29% to $387.6 million as shipments increased 7% and average sales realizations a ton increased 20%.

Though cost of coal sales a ton increased around 20%, increases in coal sales revenues more than offset the increases in operating expenses.

Operating profit increased 16.2% to $52.5 million while operating profit margin declined 150 basis points to 13.3%.

"Already strong coal market fundamentals appear likely to remain favorable as we head into the summer months, traditionally a period of robust coal demand. With our expanded production capability in the Powder River Basin and steady output in the East, Foundation has a very solid base for future growth and performance," the company said.

The company's shares were trading at $51.57 Wednesday, down 7 cents.

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