By St. Louis Business Journal

Peabody Energy Corp.'s profit more than doubled in the second quarter as demand for coal from Australia rises in China and India.

The St. Louis-based coal company reported a profit of $206.2 million, 76 cents a share, for the quarter that ended June 30, up 160 percent from $79.2 million a year earlier.

Revenue in the second quarter increased 25 percent to $1.67 billion from $1.34 billion in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue of $1.68 billion.

Peabody said the growth in revenue was driven by higher coal prices and a 93 percent jump in sales in Australia, where Peabody mines supply coal for making steel in Asia.

International markets continued to strengthen in the second quarter, led by rising imports in China, India and the recovering developed economies in Asia, Peabody said. As a result, Australian thermal coal prices are running more than 40 percent ahead of the prior year and are above the prices at the beginning of both the first and second quarters, the company said.

China and India are two of the most lucrative coal markets in the world. That's why Peabody was trying to buy Macarthur Coal Ltd. in Australia for $3.4 billion before the St. Louis company was rebuffed in May.

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), led by Chairman and Chief Executive Gregory Boyce, reported $6 billion in 2009 revenue. As the worldâ¿¿s largest private-sector coal company, its coal products fuel 10 percent of all U.S. electricity generation and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010