* Q1 net $82.6 million vs $66.3 million f'cast
* EBITDA $257.6 million vs $289 million f'cast
* Revenue $1.90 bln vs $1.79 bln f'cast
* Shares up 1.5 percent in New York
(Adds details on debt, coking coal)
By Alfred Kueppers
MOSCOW, July 14 Russian coking coal and steel
producer Mechel (MTL.N) said it expects significant growth this
year after posting first-quarter net profit of $82.6 million,
The company said on Wednesday its results should improve
through the rest of 2010, helped by a debt refinancing and an
expansion in coal output.
"These steps let us improve our first-quarter results and
provide significant growth in operational and financial
performance of the group throughout the rest of the year," Chief
Executive Yevgeny Mikhel said in a statement.
Analyst polled by Reuters had forecast a first-quarter net
profit of $66.3 million from Mechel, which has revived its
fortunes thanks to stronger coking coal prices and improved
steel demand after posting a $690.7 million loss a year ago.
First-quarter revenue rose to $1.90 billion from $1.18
billion, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to $257.6 million from $116.6
As of March 31, 2010, Mechel's total debt was $6.3 billion.
On a conference call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer
Stanislav Ploschenko said the company would achieve a net debt
to EBITDA ratio of 3 to 1 by end-2010, and could even achieve a
He also said the company expects to agree with international
banks on refinancing a major syndicated facility within the next
two months. Reuters in May cited banking sources as saying
Mechel had appointed ING and RBS to coordinate a $2 billion
Its shares were up 1.5 percent in New York at $19.83 by 1624
The company's results were driven by its mining division
which includes both coking coal and lesser quantities of iron
ore. Analyst Sergey Donskoy at brokerage Troika Dialog said
coking coal remained the main focus for investors.
"Coking coal prices and production volumes are the key for
(Mechel's) earnings going forward," he said.
The company produced 2.36 million tonnes of coking coal
concentrate in the first quarter, up 230 percent from a year
earlier. It is also investing $700 million this year to develop
the Elga coal deposit in the Sakha Republic in Siberia.
Initial production is expected to start in the fourth
quarter, though the railway required to facilitate large scale
exports is not scheduled to start operations until end-2011.
The deposit holds about 2.2 billion tonnes of coking coal.
(Editing by Erica Billingham and David Holmes)