TULSA, Okla. (AP) â¿¿ Coal company stakeholder Alliance Holdings GP, LP boosted its quarterly dividend on higher third-quarter earnings Wednesday.

Shareholders will receive a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per unit, up more than 13 percent from a year ago and nearly 4 percent above the previous quarter's payout. The dividend will be paid Nov. 19 to holders of record at Nov. 12.

The partnership earned $39.5 million in the third quarter, or 66 cents per share â¿¿ a 67 percent increase over the $23.7 million, or 40 cents per share, that it earned a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting higher earnings of 72 cents per share, on average.

Alliance Holdings is a holding company whose sole activity is joint ownership of Tulsa-based coal operator Alliance Resource Partners LP. Alliance Resource's production fell in the third quarter as mine safety officials stepped up oversight after a series of deadly accidents. Government inspectors are quicker to stop work at mines cited for health and safety violations.

Alliance Resource earned $73.2 million, or $1.48 per share, up from $36.4 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier, the company said Wednesday. Revenue rose 37 percent to $410.4 million from $299.6 million as strong demand from China boosted prices for steelmaking coal.

However, analysts had expected stronger results from Alliance â¿¿ profit of $1.69 per share and revenue of $418.6 million.

Shares of Alliance Holdings fell 87 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $40.78 on Wednesday, and shares of Alliance Resource finished down 2.5 percent to $59.45.
Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.