Alpha sets up Australian beachhead

ALPHA Natural Resources has recognised the growing importance of Australia and its coal export links to Asian markets by establishing new sales and development offices in Sydney and New Delhi in India.
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Alpha Natural Resources' headquarters in Abingdon, Virginia.

Lou Caruana

The company’s chief executive, Kevin S Crutchfield, said that given the anticipated increased global demand and constrained seaborne supply, US coal producers should benefit as their production capacity exceeded consumption of metallurgical coal by the domestic steel industry and thermal coal by domestic electric utilities, allowing for additional export opportunities.

"With the seaborne markets for both metallurgical and thermal coal in a growth mode, these two offices will help Alpha meet anticipated increased global demand in the long term," he said.

Each office would be focused on increasing Alpha's sales of coal to high-growth markets through its existing export platform and unique optimisation opportunities, as well as further developing trading opportunities, market intelligence and strategic relationships in Asian markets.

Brian D Sullivan, who most recently was senior vice-president and general counsel for the United Company in Bristol, Virginia, will lead the Australian office.

He was a key member of the leadership team at United and oversaw the acquisition and divestiture of operating coal assets for the company.

Suresh Iyer, most recently vice-president of enterprise risk management at Alpha, will lead the Indian office. In previous positions, Iyer has had responsibility for buying, selling and trading coal for domestic and international markets.

Both offices are expected to be fully operational by mid-2011.

Alpha and Massey Energy recently announced an agreement for an $US8.5 billion merger, saying the new entity should be well positioned to capitalise on strong global demand trends for coal.

The two companies will form America's largest supplier of metallurgical coal for the global steel industry and a highly diversified supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities in the US and overseas.