PITTSBURGH SunCoke Energy
Inc. is pushing to further reduce coking coal costs even as
earnings jumped 42 percent in the first quarter.
"With our coal business facing
higher production costs and a weaker pricing environment,
were taking action to mitigate the impact of these
challenges by scaling back production at higher-cost mines,
idling certain mines, redeploying resources and lowering
capital spending to reduce costs and conserve cash," SunCoke
chairman and chief executive officer Frederick "Fritz"
The company did not elaborate on
which mines will be idled or have their production schedules
The Lisle, Ill.-based
metallurgical coal and coke producer posted net income of $16.9
million for the three months ended March 31 on sales that rose
44.4 percent of $481.3 million. The sales increase was a result
of higher coal selling prices and increased output, which in
turn was due to the October 2011 startup of the companys
Middletown, Ohio, coke production facility.
The Middletown plant, which
serves West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp., contributed
$68.5 million in revenue for the "other domestic coke" segment
during the quarter. Revenue for this segment totaled $378.1
million, up $130.6 million from the same year-ago period. The
Indiana Harbor coke production facility, in which SunCoke holds
an 85-percent stake, also showed operational improvements
during the quarter, contributing to improved revenue.