Pinnacle ramp-up lifts NRP spirits

RECORD earning for the second quarter, a positive price outlook and the Pinnacle longwall back in action has meant Natural Resource Partners (NRP) lifted its net income guidance for the full year to US$2.10 to $2.25 per unit based on anticipated coal royalty revenues of more than $100 million.

Angie Tomlinson

NRP’s previous guidance was set at $1.70 to $1.80 per unit, however the company’s outlook lifted based on a strong coal market and anticipated continued production from the Pinnacle mine. Pinnacle was idled for almost nine months following a serious fire on September 1.

"As a result of strong demand for both metallurgical and steam coal, we have seen a significant increase this quarter in coal prices realized by our lessees. Because we anticipate these higher prices to remain for the rest of the year and because Pinnacle has resumed production, we have increased our guidance for 2004,” said CEO Corbin Robertson, Jr.

Net income for the second quarter increased 49% over the same quarter last year to $15.1 million. Year to date net income for the first six months of the year increased 45% to $26.3 million.

Increased production from Appalachia mines and increases in average coal royalty per ton of 29% to $2.18 kicked in to help NRP to its record quarterly result.

Production by NRP’s lessees also increased 5% to 12 million tons compared to 11.4 million tons for the same period last year. Year to date production increased by 23.7 million tons, attributable to acquisitions in Appalachia since the beginning of 2003.