BRISTOL, Va. (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources Inc. posted a loss Friday as prices and profit margins collapsed on falling demand for coal.
A year ago, Alpha had a margin of $6.57 per ton of coal it sold. In the most recent quarter, that had shrunk to $2.72.
The amount of coal it sold fell, too, down 19 percent to 21.6 million tons.
Alpha shares slumped 8 percent and other coal miners tumbled as well.
Alpha's declining margins and volume drove revenue down almost 28 percent to $1.34 billion, from $1.85 billion a year earlier.
Alpha lost $185.7 million, or 84 cents per share, for the quarter that ended June 30. A year earlier, it lost $2.23 billion, or $10.14 per share, as it wrote down the value of assets and took restructuring charges, for a total charge of $2.5 billion.
If not for one-time items in both quarters, its most recent loss would have growth to $129 million, or 59 cents per share, from $72 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a loss of 34 cents per share on revenue of $1.85 billion.
Besides the pricing pressure, the company had unexpected downtime at its Cumberland mine and unfavorable mining conditions at its Emerald mine, both of which hurt production and shipments of some high-margin coal. The company announced on July 15 that the Cumberland mine is shut down while it fixes the roof of a key part of the mine.
Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said the company is idling unprofitable coal capacity for coal used for heating and steelmaking, "and we anticipate additional actions may be required between now and the end of the year." It's adjusting overhead and capital spending to be in line with the company's changing size, he said.
Coal inventory at U.S. utilities is shrinking, which should lead to more demand in the future, he said.
The company said it expects to ship 83 million to 91 million tons of coal this year.
Shares of Alpha Natural Resources Inc. fell 42 cents to $5.02 in early trading.