Outlook strong for Excel

EXCEL Coal yesterday lifted its net profit forecast for the 2005 financial year to $60-70 million.
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The Metropolitan longwall.

Angie Tomlinson

Excel managing director Tony Haggarty said the lift in profit expectations came on the back of increased 2005 contract prices for both coking and thermal coal.

The acquisition of a 25% interest in HunterCoal is also expected to have a significant

impact on the company’s earnings and Excel’s currency protection policy removes currency risk for FY 2005.

Excel previously reported a net profit of $25.7 million for the 2004 FY, 42% above the prospectus forecast of $18.1 million.

Haggarty said Excel's saleable coal production for the first quarter 2005 FY was at 1.267 million tonnes, up 20.9% on the same time last year.

Haggarty remained positive on China’s growth declaring claims China was slowing were exaggerated and enormous momentum remained.

Haggarty said China’s steel demand had grown at more than 20% per annum since 2000. Currently consumption sits at about 225 Mtpa, more than twice the size of either Japan or the USA. He said its steel demand was forecast to be greater than 400 Mtpa by 2010, making China the largest steel producer, consumer and importer.

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