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Peabody's Aussie Operations Improving Margins



January 8, 2018 - Peabody Energy is hoping to maintain the improvement in operating margins at its Australian operations this financial year as efficiencies at its metallurgical coal mines kick into the bottom line result.

Peabody Energy chief financial officer Amy Schwetz told an analysts’ conference call the company overcame several geological setbacks as well as longwall moves in the September quarter and intended to end the year strongly.   

“Despite geological conditions and ramp up following an extended longwall move at an underground mine Australian thermal led the company yet again in adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation margins of 37% bringing year-to-date results to 38%,” she said of the company’s September quarter result,” she said.

“As expected, metallurgical costs declined a sizable US$31 per tonne from the second quarter of 2017 to $78.42 per tonne. Improvements, were led by longwall performance, lower strip ratios, and higher volumes and gives us a greater line of sight for the met coal segment to be within the full year cost and volume targets as outlined last quarter.”

Overall sales volumes from the Australian operations totaled 8.7 million tonnes including 3.5Mt of met coal sold at an average price of $119.55/t during the September quarter. 

“Thermal sales volume totaled 5.2 million tonnes for the quarter, including 3.3 million tonnes of export thermal coal sold at an average price of $69.31 per short tonne,” Shwetz said.

“That brings year-to-date export thermal coal sales to 9.1 million tonnes sold at an average price of $67.48

“As expected, met coal shipments increased 75% compared to the cyclone restricted second quarter of 2017. Performance was driven by record production and strong sales volumes from the North Goonyella mine as rails improved.  

“Strong demand for quality Australian thermal and met coal led to realized revenues per tonne increasing $48 per tonne for the met coal segment and over $15 per tonne for the thermal segment compared to the third quarter of 2016.”