Missouri-based coal company

Peabody Energy

(BTU) - Get Report

said its profit rose 151% in the first quarter, led by rising demand for coal and higher prices.

The company earned $130.2 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $51.9 million, or 19 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 44 cents a share in the quarter.

First-quarter revenue rose 21.7% from a year ago to $1.31 billion, surpassing analysts' expectations of $1.23 billion.

Peabody reaffirmed its guidance for 2006 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1 billion to $1.15 billion and earnings of $1.87 to $2.43 a share. Analysts forecast a full-year profit of $2.28 a share. The company expects full-year production of 230 million to 240 million tons.

For the second quarter, the company expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $250 million to $300 million and earnings a share of 40 cents to 58 cents, reflecting ongoing rail concerns and the delayed longwall equipment installation. Analysts expect earnings of 57 cents a share.

"Peabody is capturing higher prices on expanded volumes and delivering record financial results amid growing global coal demand and very tight supplies," the company said.

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