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Arch Coal (ARCH) Posts Narrower-Than-Expected Loss in Q4

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Arch Coal Inc. (ARCH - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 operating loss of 10 cents per share, which was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 20 cents by 50%.
GAAP loss in the reported quarter was 57 cents against earnings of $4.44 per share in the year-ago period.

Total Revenues

Total revenues in the reported quarter amounted to $549.5 million, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $487 million by 12.7%. However, the figure declined 15.6% on a year-over-year basis due to lower sales volumes, and reduction in cash margin per ton in the Metallurgical and Other Thermal segment.

Arch Coal Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Arch Coal Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Arch Coal Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Arch Coal Inc. Quote

Segment Details

In the Metallurgical segment, the company sold 2 million tons of coal compared with the prior-year figure of 2.1 million tons. It recorded cash margins of $20.49 per ton compared with $46.69 in the year-ago quarter, owing to lower sales price.

During the quarter, the Powder River Basin segment’s cash margin per ton improved 12.3% from the prior-year period to $1.37. The company sold 18.1 million tons, down from the year-ago figure of 19.5 million tons.

In the Other Thermal segment, its cash margin was $3.60 per ton, down 41.3% from $6.13 in the year-ago quarter. Shipments also declined 8.7% year over year to 2.1 million tons.

Highlights of the Release

During 2019, Arch Coal invested $103 million in the Leer South mine development and expects to invest another $220 million in 2020. Total capex for Leer South is projected between $360 million and $390 million. The company is on track to commence longwall operations at the new mine in third-quarter 2021. This mine will produce very high quality coking coal, which will allow it to cater to rising demand globally.

During the quarter, Arch Coal bought back $10.5 million shares and made dividend payments totaling $8.0 million. In the last 11 quarters, the company has bought back a total of 10.1 million shares or 40% of its initial shares outstanding and returned a total of $913.3 million, including dividends, to its shareholders.

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2019 were $153.1 million compared with $264.9 million at the end of 2018.

Long-term debt as of Dec 31, 2019 was $290.1 million compared with $300.2 million at the end of 2018.

Cash provided from operating activities in 2019 was $419.7 million compared with $417.9 million a year ago.


Arch Coal expects coking coal volume for 2020 in the range of 6.8-7.2 million tons and total sales volume within 82.8-87.2 million tons.

Zacks Rank

Arch Coal currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Releases

Alliance Resource Partners ARLP reported fourth-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 20 cents per unit, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

SunCoke Energy Inc. SXC reported fourth-quarter 2019 loss of 2 cents per share against the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 3 cents.

Peabody Energy BTU incurred fourth-quarter 2019 loss of 55 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 97 cents.

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