SunCoke Energy Posts Lower 3rd-quarter Profit

LISLE, Ill. (AP) â¿¿ Metallurgical coke producer SunCoke Energy Inc. said Wednesday that its profit declined in the third quarter as higher operating expenses and lower prices for its coal-derived fuel offset a spike in revenue.

The company reported net income of $18.4 million, or 26 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with net income of $37.4 million, or 53 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Revenue surged to $403.5 million from $331.6 million a year earlier, driven by higher coal prices and the contribution from Harold Keene Coal Co. Inc., which SunCoke acquired in January.

The results trumped analysts' consensus forecast for earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $397.9 million, according to FactSet.

SunCoke said its third-quarter results were hurt by lower coke sales prices in its Jewell Coke segment due to contract amendments with ArcelorMittal that changed the coke pricing formula, significantly reducing the impact of higher coal prices.

Still, the company's domestic coke-making business produced a record level of coke during the quarter, while the company's coal mining segment posted better annual results due to improved coal prices.

Even so, management noted that the company's mining operations remain challenged by higher cash costs, deteriorating yields and diminished production.

As a result, SunCoke will slow its planned expansion to focus on improving operations at its existing mines, the company said.

SunCoke shares rose 23 cents, or 2 percent, to $12.02 in afternoon trading. Shares are down 28 percent since the company's initial public offering in July.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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