* 2nd-qtr adj loss/shr $0.56 vs est $0.74
* Shares rise as much as 8 pct
(Adds estimates, analyst comment, details from statement,
background, share move)
Aug 6 Alpha Natural Resources Inc
reported a smaller-than-expected second-quarter loss as the cost
of selling coal in eastern United States declined 6 percent from
the first quarter.
Alpha Natural shares rose as much as 8 percent in early
morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
The third-largest coal supplier in the United States said
adjusted cost of coal sales for its eastern mines - spanning the
Appalachian region in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky -
fell to $62.01 per ton, from $65.73 in the first quarter.
"This drop alone provided a $45 million tailwind," said
Brean Capital analyst Lucas Pipes.
Alpha Natural said last week that it planned to idle 11
mines in West Virginia and cut up to 1,100 jobs, underscoring
the dismal state of the once-iconic Central Appalachian mines.
The 11 mines produced 4.2 million tons of thermal and
metallurgical coal in the first half of the year.
U.S. coal miners have been hit by weak metallurgical coal
prices, which has forced them to idle mines and cut jobs.
Alpha Natural, and rivals such as Peabody Energy Corp
and Arch Coal Inc have also been hurt by poor
rail service in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, preventing them
from cashing in on an uptick in demand for
Alpha Natural on Wednesday cut its forecast range for annual
shipments from the Powder River Basin by 3 million tons to 34-37
The company said while pricing for metallurgical, or
steel-making, coal may have bottomed, it does not currently see
an imminent catalyst to spur a pricing uptick in the near term.
Alpha Natural's metallurgical coal shipments fell to 4.5
million tons in the second quarter ended June 30, from 5.6
million tons, a year earlier.
Peabody Energy on Tuesday said it was cutting met coal
production from its high-cost Burton Mine in Queensland,
Alpha Natural's net loss nearly tripled to $512.6 million,
or $2.32 per share, in the second quarter, hurt by a non-cash
goodwill impairment charge of about $309 million.
On an adjusted basis, the company posted a loss of 56 cents
per share, much smaller than the 74 cents anticipated by
analysts on an average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Alpha Natural shares were up nearly 4 percent at $3.55 on
Wednesday morning, after touching a high of $3.69. The stock had
more than halved in value this year up to Tuesday's close.
(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh and Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore;
Editing by Joyjeet Das and Kirti Pandey)