May 15, 2017 - Westmoreland Coal Company (Nasdaq:WLB) today reported financial results for the first quarter 2017 and reiterated its 2017 guidance.
First Quarter Highlights
“We remain on track to achieve our full year guidance, despite a challenging first quarter," said Westmoreland Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Paprzycki. "Our adjusted EBITDA and cash flow were impacted during the quarter by low weather-related demand. We also performed dragline repairs and worked through some challenging parts of our mine plan. Our operators took proactive steps to minimize the impact of these headwinds, and I'm pleased that we now have these factors behind us. This quarter’s results demonstrate the resiliency of our model in that, despite an unusual set of challenges, we produced positive free cash flow.”
Consolidated and Segment Results
Consolidated adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2017 was $88.2 million. As expected, revenue in the Coal-US segment was lower due to the expiration of the Jewett and Beulah coal supply contracts. Unfavorable weather also impacted all operating segments, particularly Coal -WMLP, where mild weather in Ohio added to the existing softness in price and demand. Heavy snowfall, followed by heavy rain, at the Kemmerer mine, lowered first quarter deliveries and increased costs. Operational challenges, including dragline repairs in Canada and temporary mining in a lower-yield area of certain mines in both the Coal - Canada and Coal - WMLP segments, drove lower sales and increased costs. Offsetting these declines was the effect of the early repayment of loan and lease receivables by Capital Power, of which approximately $47 million represented accelerated collections in the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA also benefited from an additional month of San Juan operations compared with the previous year.
Cash Flow and Liquidity
Westmoreland’s free cash flow through March 31, 2017, was $42.6 million, including the benefit from the early repayment of loan and lease receivables. Free cash flow is the net of cash flow used in operations of $0.7 million, less capital expenditures of $7.2 million, plus net cash collected for the loan and lease receivables of $50.5 million. Included in cash flow used in operations were cash uses for interest expense of $32.0 million, for asset retirement obligations of $10.7 million, and negative working capital of $3.2 million.
At March 31, 2017, cash and cash equivalents on hand totaled $75.4 million, a $15.4 million increase from year end. The increase was comprised of free cash flow generation of $42.6 million; net cash debt reductions including capital lease payments of $22.4 million; a $3.6 million reserve acquisition and other non-operating cash uses of $1.2 million.
Gross debt plus capital lease obligations at quarter end totaled $1.1 billion. There was $33.4 million available to draw, net of letters of credit, on Westmoreland's revolving credit facility. An additional $14.7 million was available to Westmoreland Resource Partners through its revolving credit facility, which is not available to the parent for borrowings. No amounts had been drawn on either revolving credit facility as of March 31, 2017.
Westmoreland Coal Company is the oldest independent coal company in the United States. Westmoreland’s coal operations include surface coal mines in the United States and Canada, underground coal mines in Ohio and New Mexico, a char production facility, and a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant. Westmoreland also owns the general partner of and a majority interest in Westmoreland Resource Partners, LP, a publicly-traded coal master limited partnership (NYSE:WMLP). Its power operations include ownership of the two-unit ROVA coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.