Peabody reports $1 bln loss on weak coal prices

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:10am EST

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Peabody Energy Corp reported a $1 billion loss in the fourth quarter due to a steep fall in prices of metallurgical, or steel-making, coal.

Peabody reported a net loss of $3.78 per share in the fourth quarter, compared with a net income of $222.4 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier.

Weak demand from steelmakers in China and Europe and a rebound in exports out of Australia, the world's biggest exporter of the steel-making coal, has pushed down met coal prices.

Benchmark price for met coal fell to $170 per metric ton in the fourth quarter, a nearly $100 drop from a year earlier, and a 24 percent decline from the third quarter.

Revenue at the largest coal producer in the United States by volume fell roughly 10 percent to $2.02 billion.