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Coal producer Alpha posts $2.23-billion loss in 2d qtr.

Keywords: Tags  Alpha Natural Resources, metallurgical coal, quarterly earnings, Stacy Irish

NEW YORK — Metallurgical coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. saw its loss surge in the second quarter amid weak international demand and production cuts.

Alpha posted a net loss of $2.23 billion for the three months ended June 30, more than 44 times the $50.1-million net loss recorded in the year-ago quarter, according to the company’s earnings results, released Wednesday. That’s despite increased revenue of $1.85 billion, up 15.6 percent from nearly $1.6 billion in the same comparison.

"These are extremely challenging times in the U.S. coal industry, with softness in both the thermal and now the metallurgical coal markets, and the pace at which the fundamentals changed," Alpha chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Crutchfield said in a statement.

"We have continued to optimize our central Appalachia operations by adjusting our footprint, idling high-cost thermal coal and lower-quality metallurgical coal production, while focusing on our higher-margin metallurgical products," he added. "We have also taken proactive steps to ensure significant financial flexibility by amending our secured credit facility and relaxing certain of our covenants in the near term."

Bristol, Va.-based Alpha’s metallurgical coal revenue fell 7 percent year on year due to production cutbacks implemented in the first half of this year, as well as lower average realized prices in the second quarter, the company said. However, metallurgical coal shipments increased by 28 percent in the second quarter compared with the same 2011 period.

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