Aussie coal stocks: The top performers

ALL I want for Christmas is, not my two front teeth, but some shares in Aquila. And I wanted them last Christmas after a stunning 2005 for the Perth-based company which outperformed all other Aussie coal stocks to record a one-year return of 270%.
Aussie coal stocks: The top performers Aussie coal stocks: The top performers Aussie coal stocks: The top performers Aussie coal stocks: The top performers Aussie coal stocks: The top performers


Angie Tomlinson

Aquila, which originally listed with interests in a gold tenement in Western Australia, is now a diversified producer with coal and iron ore assets. The company’s foray into the coal industry was vindicated when in late January 2004 it formed a joint venture with AMCI to explore and develop its tenements in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.


Aquila’s 52-week high of $A5.50 came in late November, after starting the year less than $A1.40. The company is currently sitting comfortably around the $A5.10 mark.


While not strictly a coal stock of such, contractor and low seam specialist Bounty Industries was the second best performer of the year with a one-year return of 118%.


Bounty hit its 52-week high of $A0.43 in October after a report by independent analyst Strachan Coporate. Bounty is currently sitting around $A0.36 after a June 52-week low of $A0.15.


Rio Tinto’s Coal & Allied was also a strong performer with a 64.8% one-year return. It is still trading around the $A50 mark – up around its June year-high of $A53. It’s parent, global diversified miner Rio Tinto, made a one-year return of 69.36%.


Other global giant BHP returned nearly 52%.


Since its inception, Excel Coal has catapulted itself onto the wish-list, or wish-I-had-list, after making its ASX-debut at $A2 in April 2004 and reaching a 52-week high of $A8.70 in March this year.


The high followed the company’s announcement it had moved to 77% ownership of Millennium Coal, and after it had committed to the cost of a planned $86 million infrastructure joint venture with BHP Mitsui Coal – at Millennium's new opencut mine – and BHP's Poitrel project, both near Moranbah in Queensland.


One-year return for Excel was almost 46% and the company is currently trading around the $A6.50 region.


Straits Resources also performed well with a one-year return of 48%. The company’s 52-week high came after Straits released its third quarter results in October.


Macarthur Coal was a strong player, returning 42% to cap off a solid year.


Normally quite the market darling, Centennial Coal’s share price has slid since the end of September following news of problems at its Newstan mine. After two months of problems, Centennial has now successfully mined through the fault zone and claims it is back on track.


Centennial recorded a one-year return of 4% after reaching lofty heights of $A5.52 during August before sliding back to around $A3.80.


Recording respectable one-year returns were Gloucester Coal (37%), Felix Resources (25.9%), Resource Pacific (23.7%) and Cumnock Coal (20%).