UPDATE 1-Peabody revenue falls due to weak Australia coal operations

Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:14am EST

* Fourth-quarter revenue $1.74 bln vs est $1.77 bln

* Adjusted EPS $0.00 vs est loss of $0.10

* Expects first-quarter adjusted EPS $-0.10 to $0.14

* Shares down 2 pct in premarket trading

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Coal miner Peabody Energy Corp posted a steeper-than-expected 14 percent fall in quarterly revenue due to weak prices of metallurgical, or steelmaking, coal and a labor stoppage at two of its Australian mines.

Shares of Peabody, the world's largest private-sector coal miner, were down 2 percent to $17.01 in premarket trading.

Total revenue fell to $1.74 billion in the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, with Peabody's Australian operation recording a 20 percent fall.

Analysts on average had expected total revenue of $1.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Peabody sells both higher-margin metallurgical coal, used to make steel, and thermal coal used to generate electricity.

Both markets have been under pressure, with a drop in demand for steel hammering prices for metallurgical coal. Miners have cut production of steel-making coal to bolster prices, but the global market is still oversupplied.

Last month, Peabody lowered its 2013 forecast for earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) due to delays in commissioning a new longwall coal caving system at the North Goonyella Mine in Australian and a labor stoppage another mine in the country.

The company, however, reported a smaller loss in the fourth quarter, mainly due to cost cuts and a 45 percent drop in asset impairment and mine closure costs.

Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to $565.7 million, or $2.12 per share, from $1.01 billion, or $3.78 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company broke even on a per share basis. Analysts on average had expected the company to post a loss of 10 cents per share.

The coal miner said it expects to report between a loss of 10 cents per share and a profit of 14 cents per share in the first quarter. Analysts are expecting a loss of 4 cents.

Peabody's shares closed at $17.39 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. They rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter, but have erased most of that gain so far this year.

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