Ocean, rail hamper Alpha

RAIL constraints, late-arriving vessels and customer deferments will leave Appalachian producer Alpha Natural Resources $US10-$US15 million short of 2005 fourth-quarter revenue projections, the company announced late last week.
Ocean, rail hamper Alpha Ocean, rail hamper Alpha Ocean, rail hamper Alpha Ocean, rail hamper Alpha Ocean, rail hamper Alpha

Courtesy Alpha Natural Resources.

Angie Tomlinson

Alpha said about 110,000 tonnes of export metallurgical coal scheduled to be shipped from the east coast at the end of this month will be delayed by late-arriving vessels or deferred by customers until 2006.

Limited rail capacity and customer changes to delivery schedules have also curtailed planned fourth-quarter shipments to utilities in Canada and the northern, central and south-eastern states of the US, as well as to the company's export facility in Norfolk, Virginia.

"Export revenues were $US56 million ahead of last year for October and November combined, so business was strong going into December. However we don't expect to achieve our planned shipments in December because of postponed deliveries by customers and delays by rail and ocean carriers," Alpha chief Mike Quillen said.

"We've said before how difficult it is to be precise about our seaborne met business, and developments this quarter underscore that fact."

Alpha currently expects its 2005 net income to come in at $US10-$US20 million and EBITDA to be in the range of $US128-$US138 million excluding stock-based compensation charges.

Alpha also released its 2006 guidance, based on expectations that average price realisation per tonne in 2006 would improve 10%. Net income for 2006 was predicted to be $US50-$US60 million.

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