Peabody Energy (BTU) Stock Gains After Plan to Sell Most of Queensland Portfolio

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Peabody Energy (BTU) shares are up 6.1% to $2.61 in afternoon trading on Friday after the coal miner announced that it is selling most of its Queensland, Australia coal exploration portfolio.

Details of the sale have not been provided, but the move comes as the company is embroiled in the midst of dwindling coal prices.

Peabody Energy has seen an its market capitalization fall to $685 million, a 70% decline.

The sale, for an undisclosed amount, may be part of the company's wider strategy of eventually exiting Australia, according to the Australia financial website AFR Weekend.

Falling coal prices are responsible for cutbacks by the company. Last month falling coal prices led the company to announce that it was cutting 210 jobs and cut production at its coal mine in north Queensland.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PEABODY ENERGY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PEABODY ENERGY CORP (BTU) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 264.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$48.50 million to -$176.60 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.55 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, BTU has a quick ratio of 0.61, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PEABODY ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PEABODY ENERGY CORP is currently extremely low, coming in at 14.06%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -11.48% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $3.40 million or 93.71% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BTU Ratings Report

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