Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 26, 2010 10:00 am ET

Executives

Brian Cantrell - SVP and CFO

Joe Craft - President and CEO

Analysts

Jim Rollyson - Raymond James

Paul Forward - Stifel Nicolaus

Ron Londe - Wells Fargo

Joel Havard - Hilliard Lyons

Dave Martin - Deutsche Bank

William Adams - FAMCO

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. and Alliance Holdings GP second quarter 2010 earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Mr. Brian Cantrell, Senior Vice President and CFO.

Brian Cantrell

We appreciate your interest in Alliance Resource Partners, which we refer to as ARLP; and Alliance Holdings GP, which we refer to as AHGP. We released our 2010 second quarter earnings earlier this morning and will now discuss these results as well as our outlook for the remainder of 2010. Following our prepared remarks, we will open the call to your questions.

Before we begin, however, let me start with a few reminders. First, since AHGP's only assets are its ownership interest in ARLP, our comments today are directed to ARLP's results and outlook unless otherwise noted.

In addition, please be aware that some of our remarks may include statements, which are not historical in nature and may concern future expectations, plans and objectives of the partnerships regarding their future operations. Such comments constitute forward-looking statements made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are based on the beliefs of the partnerships and those of their respective general partners and management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to them. Although the Alliance partnerships, their general partners and management, believe these forward-looking statements to be reasonable at the time, no assurances can be given that such statements will prove to be correct.

Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, which are contained in our filings from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are also reflected in today's press releases from the partnerships. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or if any of our underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results for the partnerships may vary materially from those we anticipated, estimated, projected or expected. In providing these remarks, neither ARLP nor AHGP has any obligations to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Finally, we will also be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures. Definitions and reconciliations of the differences between these non-GAAP financial measures and the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are contained at the end of the ARLP press release, which has been posted on ARLP'S website and furnished to the SEC on Form 8-K.

Now that we're through with the required preliminaries, I'll turn the call over to Joe Craft, our President and Chief Executive Officer. Joe?

Joe Craft

Thank you, Brian. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us as we review the best quarterly financial performance in ARLP's history. As you saw in our earnings release this morning, ARLP again delivered record financial results, posting new benchmarks for sales volumes, revenues, EBITDA and net income during the second quarter and first half of 2010.

This exceptional performance reflects the ongoing benefits of our strategy of capturing higher-priced long-term sales contract positions and executing on our organic growth initiatives. I'd like to take a few moments to expand on each of these areas now.

Turning first to our contract portfolio, as you know, ARLP's success in securing sales commitments during favorable market conditions that existed prior to 2009 laid the foundation for us to enter 2010 with approximately 97% of our anticipated sales volumes committed at attractive prices. We further strengthened this position in the first quarter of this year by committing to deliver 1 million tons of metallurgical coal at prices in the range of $100 per ton for the fiscal year that began in April 2010.

Since then, we have executed several new contracts to deliver over 7 million tons of coal over the next four years at prices 15% to 20% above ARLP's current average price realizations. ARLP continues to see improving coal market conditions and increased customer interest for the coal qualities we produce. I am hopeful that we will be discussing several new long-term contracts during our earnings call next quarter.

ARLP's operating flexibility and organic growth initiatives also played a major role in our performance during the second quarter. While we obviously anticipated increased sales volumes during the quarter from the planned ramp-up of the River View mine, we did not anticipate the failure of the vertical hoist conveyor system at the Pattiki mine.

Fortunately, the additional production capacity built into the River View mine allowed ARLP operating teams to respond quickly by bringing the seventh and eighth production units into operation at River View, allowing us to keep our miners employed and offset some of the impact from the Pattiki disruption. During this effort, productivity at River View continued to exceed expectations. And if this performance continues, the full production capacity of this mine could be as much as 10% above our previous expectations of 6.4 million tons annually.

Based upon current negotiations and other expressions of interest by utilities I mentioned earlier, Alliance is hopeful that we can sign additional new long term contracts this year, enabling us to maintain 16 continuous mining shifts of production at the River View mine.

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