(Adds details from statement, background, share movement)
July 29 Miner Arch Coal Inc reported a
smaller-than-expected quarterly loss as operating costs per ton
fell 7 percent, sending its shares up as much as 7 percent in
Arch Coal, like other U.S. miners, is struggling with
dismally low coal prices and has been trying to cut costs and
lower production of low-margin metallurgical, or steel-making,
Lack of proper rail links to western U.S. states and a
harsher-than-usual winter in North America, which disrupted
transportation, has also added to coal miners' woes.
Last week, Arch Coal said it would idle its Cumberland River
coal complex in Kentucky and Virginia, lowering its full-year
metallurgical coal volumes by about 200,000 tons.
The company on Tuesday cut its sales volume targets for 2014
to reflect the effects of the transportation bottlenecks and the
impact of a fall in steel production.
Arch Coal cut its thermal sales volumes forecast for 2014 to
124-130 million tons from 124-132 million tons.
It had already lowered its met coal sales forecast last week
to 6.3-6.9 million tons from 6.3-7.3 million tons.
The company is turning its focus to producing metallurgical
coal from its low-cost assets in Appalachia, where it has eight
Arch Coal's net loss widened to $97 million in the second
quarter ended June 30 from $72.2 million a year earlier.
Excluding items its loss of 46 cents per share was narrower
than the average analyst estimate of a loss of 49 cents per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's operating costs per ton fell to $20.55 from
Sales fell 7 percent to $713.8 million, missing the average
analyst estimate of $714.6 million.
Arch Coal's shares were up 6 percent at $3.03 in early
trading, slightly lower than its Tuesday high of $3.05.
(Reporting By Kanika Sikka; Editing by Ted Kerr and Savio