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UPDATE 1-Russia's Raspadskaya sees lower Q4 coal sales
(Adds comment on clients' debts, analyst comments)
MOSCOW Nov 12 (Reuters) - Raspadskaya (RASP.MM), Russia's second-largest producer of coal for the steel industry, said on Wednesday fourth-quarter 2008 sales would reach only one-third of planned volumes after steel makers slashed orders.
Raspadskaya did not provide any figures on coal production for the year or its original forecast.
In the January-September period, the producer's coking coal concentrate sales fell to 6.23 million tonnes from 6.57 million tonnes in the previous year period.
Raw coal output for the nine months totalled 8.02 million tonnes, down 22 percent from a year ago.
Raspadskaya said in a statement that its clients also had been unable to pay for the bulk of coal received.
"Because they have problems with their customers for steel and coke, and because of their consequent liquidity problems, payments of steel makers since September amount to 21 percent of amounts shipped," Chief Executive Gennady Kozovoi said.
A company spokesman added that it was difficult to say when the situation would return to normal and that Raspadskaya is working with its clients in order to obtain payment for the shipments.
Michael Kavanagh, a metals and mining analyst with Uralsib, said the announcement paints a grim picture for fourth quarter Russian economic growth.
"This very much backs up what we have been saying, and that is that the real economy has stopped dead in its tracks," said Michael Kavanagh, a metals and mining analyst at Uralsib bank.
He added that it remains unclear when Russia will recover.
"Does this continue, or is it the trough?" he asked.
Raspadskaya also said it would recommend an interim dividend for the nine months ended Sept. 30 of 1.50 roubles per share, one-quarter of the 6 roubles it said would recommend in September.
"The board of directors decided to propose a modest dividend, which on the one hand reflects the success of the company in the first 9 months of the year, whilst on the other hand does not endanger the financial stability of the company in the coming difficult months," Kozovoi said.
If approved, the dividend would be paid on Feb. 21, 2009. (Reporting by Alfred Kueppers and Polina Devitt)
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