Foundation Coal Holdings
said it registered a sixfold increase in profits for the fourth quarter, as higher revenue and improved margins drove its earnings.
The Linthicum Heights, Md., coal seller earned $28.6 million, or 61 cents a share, in the quarter. Foundation earned $4.2 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 34 cents a share.
Revenue in the fourth quarter grew 31% from a year ago to $334.4 million. Analysts were estimating $316.8 million.
The company's guidance for earnings in 2006 is $1.50 to $2.15 a share, with revenue of $1.42 billion to $1.50 billion. Wall Street is looking for a profit of $2.16 a share.
Foundation said the forecast doesn't assume any additional costs related to potential new safety regulations that could be adopted as a result of recent coal-mining accidents. The worst of the incidents occurred last month when 12 miners in West Virginia died after being trapped by an explosion.
"Record fourth-quarter performance capped a record year for Foundation Coal in 2005," the company said. "Coal markets, already strong in the eastern U.S., gained momentum throughout the year as demand and pricing for western coal improved dramatically in the fourth quarter. With increasing amounts of coal to be repriced, Foundation is well-positioned in the market for the future."
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