As Coal Demand Slumps, Alpha Profit Falls

ABINGDON, VA. ( TheStreet) -- On the heels of a slowdown in power generating and steel producing, coal supplier Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) reported a 77% drop in profit for the second quarter.

On Monday, Alpha said in a press release that its net income came to $15.4 million, or 22 cents a share, compared to $67.1 million, or 94 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

The company's total sales were also cut nearly in half, landing at $386.2 million in the second quarter. In last year's second quarter, Alpha had reported revenues at $701.8 million. Languishing coal shipments and prices forced a drop in coal revenues, which fell to $333.9 million from $604.7 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to post earnings at 38 cents a share, along with $446.3 million in revenue.

"As we predicted earlier this year, the persistence of weak demand conditions greatly reduced metallurgical and thermal coal shipments in the second quarter," Alpha CEO Michael Quillen said in a press release. "While global business conditions certainly aren't anywhere near where they were at this time last year, we have seen encouraging early signs of a turnaround in the steel markets and renewed interest from coal buyers, which had been mostly absent to this point."

In May, Alpha announced plans to buy Foundation Coal ( FCL) in an all-stock deal worth $1.4 billion at the time. Stockholders will vote on the deal on Friday.

Shares of both Alpha and Foundation were losing over 4% just after the opening bell.

--Reported by Sung Moss in New York City.

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