By St. Louis Business Journal

Peabody Energy said Friday that record rains and flooding in Australia will hold its earnings to about the midpoint of its July 2010 forecast, versus a more optimistic target it issued in October.

The company said it now expects its 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be about $1.8 billion, which is the midpoint of its July 2010 full-year target of $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion.

Peabody had said in October that EBITDA could range between $1.85 billion to $1.9 billion.

On Dec. 30, Peabody issued force majeure notices advising customers of weather-related shipment disruptions in Queensland, Australia, after the nation saw the worst flooding in about 50 years. Half of Queensland has been declared a natural disaster area.

Peabody Energy plans to announce its results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, on Jan. 25.

Pabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), led by Chairman and Chief Executive Gregory Boyce, is the world's largest private-sector coal company with $6 billion in revenue. Peabody fuels 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

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