NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Puda Coal (PUDA), Patriot Coal (PCX) and Consol Energy (CNX) are among 10 stocks with 7% to 56% upside, analysts polled by Bloomberg report.

As per industry analysts, coal miners are set to gain from the growing safety concerns over nuclear energy in major European countries. As the prospects of nuclear-powered electricity generation diminish, coal and natural gas will emerge strong viable alternatives.

Coal miners like Consol Energy, Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR), Patriot Coal ( PCX) and Arch Coal ( ACI) export from the East Coast facilities. These companies now have the opportunity to fill the supply gap as traditional suppliers from Europe, South Africa, Russia and Colombia have redirected shipments to Asia to leverage the robust demand arising there.

Metallurgical coal constitutes a major portion of Japan's 101-107 million tonnes in total coal imports. Japan, the world's top coal importer, generates almost 25% of its power from coal. With most Australian mines remaining non-functional after the recent flooding, an industry official comments that post earthquake demand from Japan will boost the coal industry, benefiting miners and producers worldwide. The Economic Ministry of South Korea estimates coal demand in Japan at about 200,000 tonnes per day.

10. Natural Resource Partners ( NRP) is a limited partnership company owning and managing coal properties in three coal producing regions of the U.S., namely Appalachia, the Illinois Basin and Western U.S. The company does not operate any mines, instead it has long-term lease agreements for coal reserves.

In its latest fourth quarter results, the company reported an 18% increase in revenue to $77.5 million. Beating analysts' estimates, net income soared to $42.5 million, or 39 cents per share, from $32.9 million a year ago. The company recorded a significant quarter, supported by improved production (7% year-over-year) and higher realized prices for coal. For full-year 2010, net revenue and net income increased 18% and 32%, respectively.

During Feb. 2011, NRP acquired 160 million tonnes of aggregate reserves in Kentucky and Tennessee for an estimated $20.7 million with $14.7 million funded from its credit facility and $6 million to be funded by mid-2011. It is recognized that the company has acquired around 1,008 acres of land and limestone reserves located in two separate portions.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, 33% recommend a buy while 55% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast an average 12-month price target of $37.4, nearly 6.6% higher than the stock's current price.

9. International Coal Group ( ICO) is a coal producer covering three major regions: Central Appalachian, Northern Appalachian and the Illinois Basin. The company engages in the production of mid-to-high British thermal unit (Btu), low-to-medium sulfur steam and metallurgical coal.

For fourth quarter of 2010, the company swung to a net profit of $9.6 million, or 5 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $11.3 million, or 7 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was up 7% to $264.3 million. Moody's has raised some of ICO's ratings partially, based on the company's substantial reserves and the potential for strong cash flow from operations, assigning a stable outlook.

The company estimates 2011 production to range between 16.1 million and 16.7 million tonnes of coal, including 3.1 million to 3.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal. Adjusted EBITDA is seen between $270 million to $310 million. Capital expenditure is seen ranging between $225 and $245 million.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend a buy while the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. The stock's average 12-month price target is $12, which is 8.1% higher than the current price, as per analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

8. Consol Energy ( CNX), operating in the coal and gas segments, is a multi-fuel energy producer and energy services provider serving the electric power generation industry in the U.S. It has properties in the Northern and the Central Appalachian basin and the Illinois Basins.

The company is seeking to increase its 2011 drilling capital by almost 86% to $475 million. Consol plans to spend on development drilling, including Virginia coal bed methane and Marcellus Shale in southwest Pennsylvania. Consol Energy expects to drill 70 horizontal wells in the Marcellus Shale from 24 in 2010. Total investment is pegged at $1.4 billion, with $675 million in the gas division and $615 million for the coal division.

Consol's coal production guidance for 2011 is 59 to 61 million tonnes. The company has 2.3 million low-volume met coal tonnes available for sale, if 2011 production reaches the estimated 4.5 million tonnes.

Of the 26 analysts covering the stock, 69% recommended a buy while 19% rate it a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $59.5, or 10.6% higher than the current price, analysts polled by Bloomberg say.

7. Arch Coal ( ACI) sells coal to power plants, steel mills and industrial facilities in the U.S. The company operates through three segments: the Powder River Basin, the Western Bituminous region and the Central Appalachia region. Arch has more than 19 active mines and 11 mining companies across the U.S and reported 160 million tonnes of coal sales in 2010.

During 2010, Arch Coal purchased leases for an estimated 572 million tonnes of coal controlled by the state for $86 million and future royalties. The company is very optimistic about these purchased mine's prospects. Besides, it has also leased coal tracts owned by Great Northern Iron Ore Properties and plans to mine reserves to supply domestic power plants and export markets in the Pacific Rim. Meanwhile, the company recently paid a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share.

For 2011, the company estimates GAAP earnings per share in the range of $1.93 and $2.42. Adjusted EBITDA is forecast between $910 and $1,030 million, with sales volumes in the range of 155 to 160 million tonnes. Capital spending for the year is estimated between $378 and $388 million. Meanwhile, the company's five-year agreement with Canadian Crown Corporation Ridley Terminals (RTI) will allow Arch to ship almost 2 million metric tonnes of coal through the RTI terminal.

Of the 28 analysts covering the stock, 54% recommend a buy and 43% rate a hold. As per analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, the average 12-month price target is $39.4,nearly 14.6% higher than the stock's current price.

6. Patriot Coal ( PCX) is a producer of coal and metallurgical coal in Eastern U.S. and has its operations and coal reserves in the Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. The company's operations constitute 14 mining complexes including company-operated mines, contractor-operated mines and coal preparation facilities. Patriot Coal ships coal to electric utilities, industrial users and metallurgical coal customers.

Beating analysts' estimates of a loss quarter, Patriot reported earnings of $7.3 million, or 8 cents per share, during fourth quarter of 2010. However, profit was lower than the year-ago profit owing to higher operating costs. Revenue for the quarter increased to $528.2 million from $503.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Heading into 2011, the company estimates sales volumes in the range of 30 to 32 million tonnes including metallurgical coal sales of 8.0 to 8.4 million tonnes -- a significant increase from 6.9 million tonnes sold in 2010.

Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 39% recommend a buy while 39% rate a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $29.8, which is 24.0% higher than the current price, as per analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

5. Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR), a coal supplier in the U.S., exports metallurgical coal to the steel industry and supplies thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries in the U.S. Through its Eastern and Western Coal operations, Alpha Natural Resources operates 61 mines and 14 coal preparation plants in the Northern and Central Appalachia and the Powder River Basin.

For the recent fourth quarter, the company recorded an 11% increase in revenue to $993.1 million, driven by strong shipments and rising prices. For full-year 2010, adjusted EBITDA, income from continuing operations and metallurgical coal revenue rose 47%, 46% and 70% from 2009. During 2010, the company exported 9.6 million tonnes of metallurgical coal. ANR is likely to benefit on the expected demand surge from Japan--large steel producer--as post earthquake reconstruction would increase steel demand.

The company recently unveiled plans to open its offices in India and Australia, aiming to benefit from the growing demand for metallurgical coal from Asian steel makers. A similar reason is cited for the $7.1 billion acquisition of Massey Energy, as a major portion of their combined metallurgical coal output comes from mines in West Virginia. The acquisition deal is expected to close in mid-2011.

Of the 22 analysts covering the stock, 68% recommend a buy while the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast an average 12-month price target of $70.6, about 24.1% higher than the stock's current price.

4. James River Coal ( JRCC) is engaged in the mining, processing and selling of bituminous, steam, and industrial-grade coal through its six operating subsidiaries (mining complexes) located in Eastern Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

For full-year 2010, the company reported profit of $78.2 million, or $2.82 per share, compared to $51 million, or $1.85 per share, in the prior year. Revenue increased 3% to $701.1 million with total shipments of 8.9 million tonnes of coal.

The company recently agreed to pay $475 million for buying International Resource Partners, a West Virginia-based coal producer. Through the purchase, JRCC aims to gain access to metallurgical coal reserves to meet mounting global demand. International Resource operates nine coal mines and has 136 million tonnes of coal reserves and resources in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.

With International Resource holding 61 million tonnes of met coal, James River has planned the deal strategically to build its presence in the met coal market, aiming to meet emerging markets' demand.

Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 55% recommend a buy while the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts predicting an average 12-month price target of $29.7, about 26% higher than the stock's recent price.

3. Cloud Peak Energy ( CLD) operates three wholly owned coal mines located in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The company's sells sub-bituminous steam coal to domestic power utilities that generate almost 6% of electricity in the U.S.

For fourth quarter of 2010, revenue increased $8.9 million to $345.8 million, compared to the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA stood at $69.6 million from $66.4 million in the prior year quarter. At the end of 2010, the company's coal reserves stood at 970 million tonnes, or equal to over 10 years' annual production at current production levels. Adjusted EBITDA stood at $322.7 million, compared to $320.6 million in the year-ago period.

For 2011, the company pegs production from three operating mines at 93 to 96 million tonnes, with 87 million tonnes committed for sale at fixed prices. The company expects to incur capital expenditure of $100 to $140 million. Cloud Peak Energy is well placed to meet surging Asian demand, although contingent on building additional capacity at its West Coast terminal.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 57% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect an average 12-month price target of $27.3, which is 27.2% higher than the stock's current price.

2. Walter Energy ( WLT), produces and exports metallurgical coal for the global steel industry. Walter's operating business segments are: underground mining, surface mining and Walter Coke.

For fourth quarter of 2010, the company reported 69.6% increase in total revenue with net income surging 214.9% from the year-ago quarter. For full-year 2010, revenue and net income were up 64.2% and 181.3% from 2009, respectively. For 2010, the company reported a record 7.2 million tonnes of coking coal sales.

For first quarter of 2011, Walter estimates sales volumes in the range of 1.6 to 1.8 million tonnes. For the same quarter, coking coal production costs are expected to track fourth quarter 2010 results. Moreover, metallurgical coal prices are seen rising in the first quarter, affecting Walter's margins positively.

Walter recently received a final court order approving the proposed plan of arrangement for acquiring Canada-based Western Coal for $3.4 billion. The combined entity will be the world's third-largest producer of steel-making metallurgical coal. The deal is likely to close by April 1, 2011.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 76% recommend a buy while the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts reporting an average 12-month price target of $154.2, which is 29.9% higher than the stock's current price.

1. Puda Coal ( PUDA) supplies high-grade metallurgical coking coal to China's steel industry. The company's processed coking coal is also used for making coke. Puda operates through Shanxi Puda Coal Group (Shanxi Coal), which it controls through its 90% indirect equity ownership.

For the latest fourth quarter and full-year 2010, the company's total revenue escalated 50.3% and 51.7% from the year-ago periods. Net income for the quarter and the year rose 91.3% and 121.7%, respectively. As of Dec. 31, 2010, the company's cash and cash equivalents were $156.2 million, compared to $19.9 million in the year-ago period.

Heading into 2011, the company estimates raw coal produced during the construction period of the Pinglu project at 849,000 metric tonnes. Under the Pinglu project, Shanxi Coal acquired and consolidated nine thermal coal mines into five mines with aggregate reserves of 163.9 million MT. Under the Jianhe Project, Shanxi will acquire and consolidate four metallurgical coal mines in Huozhou County into a single large metallurgical mining operation. After the consolidation, production capacity at the Jianhe project will increase to 900,000 MT from 720,000 MT.

The two analysts covering the stock recommend a buy. Analysts polled by Bloomberg envisage an average 12-month price target of $17.5 - about 56% higher than the stock's current price.

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