February 9, 2021 - Today, CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CEIX) reported financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Highlights Include:
Full Year 2020 Highlights Include:
"2020 was an extremely challenging year, as our industry dealt with weakened commodity markets due to the unprecedented drop in global energy demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Jimmy Brock, President and Chief Executive Officer of CONSOL Energy Inc. "However, despite this difficult backdrop, I am pleased with our execution of not only managing through this pandemic but also setting ourselves up for potential success as we head into 2021 and beyond. We moved early in 2020 to amend our credit agreement and secure covenant relaxation with our banks, implemented multiple cost and capex reduction targets, executed several transactional opportunities to bolster our liquidity and capped off the year by completing the CCR merger with overwhelming shareholder support. Additionally, we secured more than 10 million tons of future business under term and spot contracts during 2020 for deliveries in 2021 and beyond in the most challenging market of my 40+ year career. Furthermore, despite the reduced earnings versus 2019, we made payments of $86 million on our outstanding debt in 2020. We believe these actions have prepared us to hit the ground running in 2021."
"On the safety front, our Bailey Preparation Plant, CONSOL Marine Terminal (CMT) and Itmann project each had ZERO recordable incidents during the fourth quarter and full year of 2020. Our total recordable incident rate at the PAMC continues to track significantly below the national average for underground bituminous coal mines."
Pennsylvania Mining Complex (PAMC) Review and Outlook
PAMC Sales and Marketing
Our marketing team sold 5.9 million tons of coal during the fourth quarter of 2020 at an average revenue per ton of $39.05, compared to 6.7 million tons at an average revenue per ton of $45.14 in the year-ago period. Following the significant COVID-19 demand trough in the second quarter of 2020, demand for our product has steadily improved and we have increased our productive capacity for the second consecutive quarter. On the sales volume front, the 0.8 million ton decline in 4Q20 compared to the year-ago period was mostly a function of reduced production.
During the quarter, we were successful in securing additional coal sales contracts for 2021 and 2022, bringing our contracted position to 18.2 million and 5.6 million tons, respectively. Despite an extremely challenging commodity and economic climate in 2020, we were successful in securing an additional 10.8 million tons scheduled for delivery in 2021 and beyond.
On the domestic front, the fourth quarter of 2020 ended the year on a strong note from a demand perspective. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal's share in the electric generation mix ended the year at ~20%, which is improved from its low of 15% in April and indicates a strong second half of 2020. Furthermore, Doyle Trading Consultants estimates that total domestic coal demand will increase by 10% in 2021 versus 2020, while supply will increase by only 5%. This development could help to further reduce domestic coal stockpiles and continue to tighten the domestic market. We continue to see tightness in the supply of NAPP coal, and the majority of our domestic customer stockpiles are at or below normal for this time of year. Finally, many weather forecasts predict a significant polar vortex event beginning late-January to early-February, which could bring weeks of frigid temperatures to much of the U.S.
On the export front, we have seen several very encouraging trends as the seaborne thermal coal markets have steadily improved since the end of the third quarter of 2020. Thermal coal prices in China have continued to increase due to China's strong electricity production, ban on Australian coal imports and regional coal shortages due to new COVID-19-related trucking restrictions. We are seeing continued high pet coke prices resulting from reduced oil production propping up demand and pricing for NAPP coal in high-CV markets, particularly India. Global LNG prices have continued to surge with the Asian spot market benchmark price (JKM) hitting an all-time high in early January. API2 spot prices have also rallied and crossed the $70/ton mark in early-January for the first time since March 2019, driven by recent cold weather trends and increased LNG prices. As such, Europe has again become a viable option for U.S. coal exports.
During the fourth quarter of 2020, we consistently ran four of our five longwalls and for the second consecutive quarter have steadily increased our productive capacity, operating at more than 80% capacity utilization. The PAMC produced 5.9 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2020, which compares to 6.7 million tons in the year-ago quarter. This brings total PAMC production to 18.8 million tons in 2020. During the quarter, we faced significant production bottlenecks due to transportation delays as our supply chain partners continued to struggle with crew availability due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
CEIX's total costs during the fourth quarter of 2020 were $306.0 million compared to $320.5 million in the year-ago quarter, and CEIX's total revenue during the fourth quarter was $324.6 million compared to $342.6 million in the year-ago period. Average cash cost of coal sold per ton1 for the fourth quarter was $27.49 compared to $30.38 in the year-ago quarter. The significant reduction was due to continued tight control on maintenance and supply costs, contractor and purchased services costs and project expense. For 2020, CEIX's total costs were $1,030.9 million compared to $1,332.8 million in the prior year mainly due to reduced operating and other costs largely from reduced production in 2020 versus 2019, and CEIX's total revenue during 2020 was $1,021.6 million compared to $1,430.9 million in the prior year. Despite the significant decline in production in 2020 versus 2019 brought on by the COVID-19 demand destruction, the PAMC was very successful in limiting its cash expenditures during the year. As a result, our 2020 average cash cost of coal sold per ton1 was $29.12 compared to $30.97 for 2019. The decrease was primarily driven by reduced maintenance and supply costs, contractor and purchased services costs and project expense.
CONSOL Marine Terminal (CMT) Review
For the fourth quarter of 2020, throughput volumes at the CMT were 3.1 million tons, compared to 2.5 million tons in the year-ago period. Terminal revenues and operating cash costs were $17.4 million and $4.6 million, respectively, compared to $16.5 million and $4.9 million, respectively, during the year-ago period. CMT achieved terminal revenue of $66.8 million in 2020, just shy of the record terminal revenue set in 2019. CMT also achieved operating cash costs1 of $18.4 million in 2020, compared to $21.7 million in 2019, as the CMT employees continued to maintain tight control over expenditures in the year. CMT net income and CMT adjusted EBITDA1 came in at $8.9 million and $11.8 million, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $8.6 million and $11.3 million, respectively, in the year-ago period. CMT finished the year with net income and adjusted EBITDA1 of $32.5 million and $44.4 million, respectively, compared to $33.8 million and $44.5 million, respectively, in 2019.
Debt and Equity Repurchase Update
During the fourth quarter of 2020, CEIX made mandatory repayments of $9.7 million, $6.3 million and $0.7 million on our finance leases and asset-backed financing arrangements, Term Loan A and Term Loan B, respectively. Additionally, CEIX spent $5.7 million to retire $9.3 million of its Second lien notes, as these continued to trade at a significant discount to par. This brings our total debt reduction in the quarter to $26.0 million.
As of the year ended December 31, 2020, we repurchased $54.5 million of Second lien notes at an average discount to par value of 41% and repaid $29.0 million, $22.5 million and $2.8 million of principal with respect to our finance leases and asset-backed financing arrangements, Term Loan A and Term Loan B, respectively.
In aggregate, as of December 31, 2020, our total liquidity was approximately $326 million, including $51 million of cash and cash equivalents and approximately $1 million of availability under our Accounts Receivable Securitization, and our $400 million revolving credit facility had no borrowings and is currently only used for providing letters of credit with $126 million issued.
Since July 1, 2020, CEIX has executed multiple transactions resulting in approximately $68 million in pre-tax income. These transactions primarily consist of sales of land and mineral assets, gas wells, and various mining rights. In aggregate, in the fourth quarter of 2020, we recorded $42 million in pre-tax income related to these items in addition to the $26 million recorded in the third quarter of 2020.
2021 Guidance and Outlook
Based on our current contracted position, estimated prices and production plans, we are providing the following financial and operating performance guidance for 2021:
To read the full results with all financial figures, click here.