May 11, 2017 - Corsa Coal Corp. (TSXV: CSO) ("Corsa"), a premium quality metallurgical, thermal and industrial coal producer, today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. Corsa has filed its unaudited Condensed Interim Consolidated Financial Statements for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2016 and related Management's Discussion and Analysis under its profile on www.sedar.com. An updated investor presentation has been added to www.corsacoal.com.
Unless otherwise noted, all dollar amounts in this news release are expressed in United States dollars and all ton amounts are short tons (2,000 pounds per ton). Pricing and cost per ton information is expressed on a free on board mine site basis.
First Quarter 2017 Highlights
George Dethlefsen, Chief Executive Officer of Corsa, commented, "We achieved a record level of profitability for the company in the first quarter. The full year 2017 is shaping up to be a very strong year for the company, as supply in the metallurgical coal market remains tight and our production growth initiatives kick in during the second half of the year. I am extremely pleased with the operational execution of our divisions, including safety, mining operations, sales, coal preparation and engineering.
Our Sales & Trading platform has grown at a rapid pace in 2017. Our sales team recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of sequential volume growth of over 20% for metallurgical sales volumes, averaged realized pricing increased substantially and our customer base continues to expand as orders were booked with four new international customers. Purchases of third party metallurgical coal totaled approximately 100,000 tons in the first quarter and are expected to grow further in the second quarter. We have recently restarted our Shade Creek preparation plant, which gives us additional logistics, marketing and blending opportunities. We expect 2017 metallurgical sales volumes to grow by over 100% compared to 2016 levels.
The Casselman mine achieved its highest level of production since inception in the first quarter. We have invested in equipment upgrades at the Casselman, Quecreek and Cooper Ridge mines which should further grow production volumes from these mines in the coming months. The Acosta mine will begin mining coal this month and we are looking forward to the Grand Opening Ceremony for the mine on June 8th. Finally, we expect the Hamer and Schrock Run surface mines to add to our production levels in the months ahead. Collectively, these moves should lead to approximately 50% production volume growth from our metallurgical coal mines in the second half of 2017 as compared to first half 2017 levels. This growth will trigger the financial benefits of increased capacity utilization and operating leverage to begin to take effect.
Moving forward, we remain focused on all four aspects of our growth strategy, including the development of our permitted mines, exploration and permitting efforts, investing in our Sales & Trading platform and acquisitions. We have a very healthy financial outlook and will plan to reinvest free cash flow in ways that advance our strategic objectives of growing production and sales volumes and deleveraging."
Coal Pricing Trends and Outlook
Metallurgical coal pricing for the second quarter and the remainder of 2017 has been driven higher by the supply restrictions resulting from Cyclone Debbie. Spot market pricing in April reached five-year highs as Australian rail lines were closed, thereby disrupting 15-20 million tons of metallurgical coal exports.
The effects of Cyclone Debbie pushed spot prices for metallurgical coal up by over 200% at highpoints in the first quarter and early parts of the second quarter. Prices for U.S. east coast premium quality low volatile metallurgical coal are currently over $200 per metric ton, but are expected to moderate in the third quarter with the normalization of Australian exports. The supply chain for metallurgical coal remains extremely fragile and prone to disruption, which could dramatically alter the outlook, just as Cyclone Debbie did. We believe Chinese policy makers will look to support prices of thermal and metallurgical coal by reducing workdays at their mines should coal prices fall to a level where Chinese miners are unprofitable. We note that price levels today are significantly above this threshold. Forecasted coal production levels in China, as well as metallurgical coal inventory levels in China are very important leading indicators for metallurgical coal pricing.
Filling the supply deficit created by reduced Australian exports will be a challenge given that limited production growth is possible in the near term from Australia, China and Western Canada. Strong year-over-year growth in global steel production, a significant change from 2015 and 2016 steel production levels, has increased coking coal demand and also has supported coal prices. Although there has been some activity with mine restarts and openings, impactful incremental production from greenfield and brownfield projects may take significant lead time as permits are acquired, equipment is ordered, mines are staffed and coal producers raise capital to fund the projects.
Corsa's geographic proximity to over 50% of domestic coke production capacity and short rail distance and multiple options to access the Maryland and Virginia export terminals will continue to solidify Corsa's ability to serve both domestic and international customers. Our sales and trading platform operations also give us the ability to market a greater variety of products, access more users and increases our ability to respond to market-shaping events.
Corsa's metallurgical coal sales in 2017 from its NAPP Division are expected to be in the range of 1,200,000 to 1,300,000 tons. Actual sales will depend on customer demand and market conditions.
Corsa's thermal coal sales in 2017 from its NAPP Division are expected to be in the range of 230,000 to 260,000 tons, which is an increase from the previous outlook of 75,000 to 125,000 and are expected to be filled by coal purchased from third parties. We do not expect to sell internally-produced NAPP Division coal in the thermal market in 2017. Actual sales will depend on customer demand and market conditions.
Spot prices for southeastern U.S. utility market thermal coal retreated slightly since the previous outlook as coal burn was lower due to a mild winter in the eastern half of the U.S. Current spot pricing is approximately $51 per ton for 12,500 British thermal unit ("BTU") thermal coal. The increased price of metallurgical coal continues to attract crossover thermal coal to enter the metallurgical market. This dynamic could impact spot pricing by reducing regional thermal coal supplies.
The CAPP Division mineral reserve base exclusively consists of high BTU and high carbon content coal. These unique qualities, combined with advantaged logistics, set the CAPP Division apart from other producers and create a niche in the utility and industrial marketplace.
The CAPP Division thermal and industrial coal sales for 2017 are expected to be in the range of 645,000 to 690,000 tons, which is an increase from the previous outlook of 550,000 to 600,000 tons. The CAPP Division metallurgical coal sales for 2017 are expected to be in the range of 125,000 to 175,000 tons. Actual sales will depend on customer demand and market conditions.
Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis
Refer to Corsa's unaudited Condensed Interim Consolidated Financial Statements for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2016 and related Management's Discussion and Analysis, filed under Corsa's profile on www.sedar.com, for details of the financial performance of Corsa and the matters referred to in this news release.
Corsa also announced that the Company has received and accepted the resignation of Corbin J. Robertson III as a director and chairman of the Company, with immediate effect. Corsa wishes to thank Corbin J. Robertson III for his contributions as Corsa's Chairman of the Board of Directors since his initial appointment in July 2013. The directors of the Company have appointed Robert C. Sturdivant to succeed Mr. Robertson III as a director of the Company and also have elected him Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Sturdivant is currently the Chief Financial Officer of certain Quintana affiliates and has served in various roles including Vice President of Finance and Managing Director of Risk Management with Quintana and its affiliates since 1974. Mr. Sturdivant serves as a director on the boards of several private entities and served as Chairman of the Board for Genesis Energy, LLC, a publicly held Master Limited Partnership listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Corsa Retains Renmark Financial Communications, Inc.
Corsa is also pleased to announce that it has retained the services of Renmark Financial Communications, Inc. ("Renmark") to handle its investor relations activities. George Dethlefsen, Chief Executive Officer of Corsa, commented, "We are pleased to announce that we have selected Renmark to reinforce Corsa's profile in the financial community and enhance the visibility of our company. We chose Renmark because their standards and methodologies fit best with the message we wish to communicate to the investing public."
In consideration of the services to be provided, the monthly fees incurred by Corsa will be cash consideration of up to C$7,000, commencing in May 2017 for a period of six months ending on November 30, 2017 and monthly thereafter. Renmark does not have any interest, directly or indirectly, in Corsa or its securities, or any right or intent to acquire such an interest.
Management uses realized price per ton sold, cash production cost per ton sold, cash cost per ton sold, cash margin per ton sold and adjusted EBITDA as internal measurements of operating performance for Corsa's mining and processing operations. These measures are not recognized under International Financial Reporting Standards ("GAAP"). Management believes these non-GAAP measures provide useful information for investors as they provide information in addition to the GAAP measures to assist in their evaluation of the operating performance of Corsa. Reference is made to the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three months ended March 31, 2017 for a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures.
The estimated coal sales, projected market conditions and potential development disclosed in this news release are considered to be forward looking information. Readers are cautioned that actual results may vary from this forward looking information. Actual sales are subject to variation based on a number of risks and other factors referred to under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements" below as well as demand and sales orders received.
All scientific and technical information contained in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Justin S. Douthat, P.E., M.B.A., of Marshall Miller & Associates, Inc., who is a qualified person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 – Standard for Disclosure of Mineral Projects.
Corsa is a coal mining company focused on the production and sales of metallurgical coal, an essential ingredient in the production of steel. Our core business is producing and selling metallurgical coal to domestic and international steel and coke producers in the Atlantic and Pacific basin markets. Corsa also offers high heat content, low delivered cost coal to major utilities and industrial users in the Southeast region of the U.S.