Strong fourth quarter for Fording

FORDING Canadian Coal Trust last week reported strong fourth quarter results with net income of C$85 million, triple 2003 December quarterly results. However, on a full year basis the company was not as fortunate recording net income down on 2003 results due to unusual items.

Angie Tomlinson

Fording reported $150 million profit for 2004, down from $241 million in 2003.


Net income before unusual items, future income taxes and discontinued operations was $57 million in the fourth quarter of 2004 compared with $27 million in 2003 and $146 million and $92 million respectively on a year-to-date basis.


"Robust coal markets resulted in strong sales near our production capacity," Fording president Jim Popowich said.


“This combined with higher sales prices for metallurgical coal improved our income from operations over 2004.”


Fording said it continued to progress with capacity additions at Cardinal River’s Cheviot Creek pit, Fording River and Elkview to respond to the continuing strong demand for high quality coking coal. Elk Valley Coal’s production capacity will increase from three million tonnes to about 28Mtpa by the end of 2005.


“Results of the fourth quarter were affected by higher rail rates as well as increased mining costs. We also continued with accelerated stripping for future coal release,” Popowich said.