By St. Louis Business Journal

Patriot Coal Corp., which produces and markets coal in the eastern United States, reported total revenue of $589.4 million for the third quarter, up 17.7 percent from $500.7 million in the same quarter a year ago.

However, the coal company loss widened in the quarter ended Sept. 30, to $49.5 million compared with a $46 million loss for the same quarter last year.

⿿Our third quarter financial performance was well below our expectations,⿝ Patriot Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Schroeder said in the earnings release. ⿿While our per-ton revenues were up substantially, lower tons produced at the two longwall mines had a significant negative impact on our average cost per ton and the resulting margins.⿝ The mines were back to normal production by the end of last month, he said.

Higher revenue in the third quarter resulted from higher selling prices, which increased more than $12 per ton, or 18 percent. Patriotâ¿¿s coal sales in the recent quarter totaled 7.4 million tons, which is comprised of 5.6 million tons of thermal and 1.8 million tons of metallurgical coal. About 5.9 million tons of thermal and 1.6 million tons of metallurgical coal were sold in the same quarter last year.

For the first nine months of the year, Patriot reported sales of $1.8 billion, up more than 19 percent from the $1.5 billion reported in the same period last year.

In September, the company signed an agreement with the United Mine Workers of America, which covers more than 1,900 workers at Patriot Coal mines and preparation plants in West Virginia and Kentucky. The company brought in new leadership during the third quarter, appointing Ben Hatfield as its new chief operating officer.

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal (NYSE:PCX) is one of the largest public companies in the area with 14 active mining complexes in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. Richard Whiting is the companyâ¿¿s president and chief executive.

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