NRP digs benefits without costs

IT IS a good time to be a master limited partnership in coal. This week Natural Resource Partners reported record profits thanks to high coal prices without the burden of escalating mining costs.

Angie Tomlinson

Revenues for the June 2008 quarter were up 48% from the 2007 second quarter at $US75.6 million. Net income attributable to limited partners was $30.6 million, up 69%.

“NRP had a record-setting quarter attributed to both increases in our royalty revenue per ton and production,” CEO Nick Carter said.

He said metallurgical coal prices had nearly tripled and Appalachian and Illinois Basin steam coal prices had more than doubled since year-end.

“Because our coal royalties are based on a percentage of the sales price received by our lessees, we have experienced all the positives of the current pricing market without having to bear the burdens of escalating mining costs,” Carter said.

“As a result, our increased royalty per ton is directly correlated to the increased prices. In fact, the vast majority of our revenue is leveraged to sales price.”

Those prices have translated into NRP raising its guidance for 2008 with net income per unit increased by 20%, coal royalty revenues expected to be $217–230 million and total revenues jumping 10% to $273–297 million.