October 4, 2009 / 6:27 PM / in 8 years

Peabody stock to double as coal use leaps-Barron's

NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Global coal use is projected to jump by 55 percent by 2025, a trend that could help shares of Peabody Energy Corp (BTU.N) double over the next few years, Barron’s said on Sunday.

China and India will likely drive the growth, and Peabody, the largest U.S.-based coal concern, is vying to boost its presence in Asia through acquisitions and joint ventures with local partners, the financial newspaper reported.

    Peabody is also investing heavily in Australia and plans to double its volume there in the next five years. Production of low-cost, high-quality Australian coal could account for a third of Peabody’s pretax profits in 2009.

    The St. Louis-based company’s coal reserves in Australia and in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin could be worth $18 billion, said Peabody’s chief executive, Greg Boyce.

    Peabody shares closed down 1.4 percent to $35.20 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Its market capitalization is $9.4 billion. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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